An average of two people every week were killed this year in Kansas City, Missouri. The city's body count stood at 113 as of press time, with four days remaining in 2011. That's seven more than last year's total, a number that surpasses the homicide totals in 2009, 2007, 2004, 2003 and 2002.
This wasn't a surprise, unfortunately. In the three years that The Pitch has tracked the city's slayings with the Killa City project, the numbing statistic has hit triple digits. In 2009, KC saw 110 homicides; last year, the number was 106. There have been more than 100 homicides each year since 2005 with the exception of 2007, when there were 94.
The darkest moments of the year appeared to be a 10-hour span on the weekend of November 11, when Kansas City police opened investigations on six new homicides. One crime scene was a triple homicide that claimed, as one of its victims, a friend of newly sworn-in police chief Darryl Forté's. That Saturday morning, Forté announced that he had dispatched additional police officers throughout the city. It was a savage 10 hours.
The following look back at another hard year in Killa City reveals many equally staggering moments. The list is incomplete, but not because some killings touched fewer people or had less power to shock. These are the cases that, when we set out to compile the statistics below, made us angry all over again.
Killer Tags Gang Name at Crime Scene
Earthy Huff Jr.'s killer didn't try to cover his tracks. The shooter spray-painted the words "12th ST F1 WAS HER(E) 5ACE2" on the snow-covered concrete driveway at 3523 Garfield where 55-year-old Huff was mortally wounded January 18.
A family member of Huff's told detectives that "F1" was a Five Ace Deuce gang member who used the nickname "Knuckles." Behind all the nicknames, they say, is 18-year-old Jerrim Johnson, who has "F1" tattooed on his neck. The family member told detectives that Johnson and Huff's son were engaged in an ongoing feud.
Detectives were just a quick Google search from finding a website with photos of Johnson calling himself "F1" and "Knuckles." The Pitch also found the info on blackplanet.com, where the user writes that he's from "Killa City and clearly spells out his identity: '5AceDeuce knuckles A.K.A. F1 that's Me Frm 51street Euclid M.O.B. THE Boss OF 51street Gangs.' "
Authorities arrested Johnson at his parents' home and found a 9 mm handgun in his bed. The soles of his shoes matched footprints found near Huff's body and the graffiti. Johnson is charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action.
Teen Killed Following Dance Party
Orlando Smith ran for his life in a parking lot after a teen dance party. Witnesses told police that they saw Bruce Cunningham and Roland Wayne Mitchell III chasing the 19-year-old and firing a handgun.
Smith's body was found in a parking lot near 15th Street and Holmes around 1 a.m. January 17.
As many as 200 people were at the party. Witnesses said a confrontation involving four black males led to the killing, and they identified Cunningham and Mitchell as the shooters. After Smith's shooting, Cunningham and Mitchell met up with a group of people at IHOP in Grandview, court records say.
Cunningham and Mitchell are both charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action.
Did Yuri Ives Meet His Killer on Craigslist?
Court records are discreet and don't reveal what Yuri Ives and the teen charged with his slaying, 17-year-old Ali Cubba, discussed after meeting on Craigslist, but they do say Cubba's intentions weren't pure.