INDEPENDENCE, MO – A shooting incident that occurred at the Independence Center on Friday afternoon left four people injured, with one of the victims in critical condition. Multiple witnesses described the frightful and chaotic events that unfolded at the city’s central shopping hub.
Janice Moore anxiously paced the parking lot after receiving a call from her daughter, Jaylan, who was trapped inside a mall store during the shooting. Jaylan called to reassure her mother that she and a customer were locked in a backroom behind a rolled-down metal gate and were safe. Unable to stay calm until assured of her daughter’s safety, Janice made a one-hour drive from Olathe to see Jaylan immediately after she exited the mall. Their reunion was filled with relief at Jaylan being alive and safe.
According to Jaylan, the shooting happened right by her store’s entrance. She recalled hearing four loud noises before witnessing customers running and stores closing. To prioritize safety, she pulled down the store gate and retreated to a backroom with a customer.
Several other witnesses reported initial confusion at the noise from the shooting scene. Vincent Kloeckner, an employee at a nearby store, initially dismissed the sound as “somebody slapping a 2 by 4 together.”
Similarly, two shoppers in the mall’s food court initially mistook the sounds for a chair being moved. It was only when they saw people running, and one heard another gunshot that they realized a shooting was happening.
According to the police, the shooting resulted from an exchange of gunfire between two opposing groups. However, it isn’t clear whether innocent bystanders were caught in the crossfire. Authorities have taken three persons of interest into custody.
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