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Police have suspects in gun incidents


by Mark Vasto
Landmark reporter

On April 28, shots rang out on Gates Drive West in Platte City as a resident of the neighborhood returned home at around 11 p.m.

Caught in the crossfire, the windshield on the 1995 Ford F-150 was impacted and cracked at exactly eye level. Thankfully, the bullet – later determined to be a BB – didn’t break the safety glass on the truck’s windshield and the driver, a 36-year-old Platte City man, was safe. Aside from the damage to the windshield, the resident didn’t suffer anything more than a scare.

This was not the first time the area had complained of a BB gun related shooting. Nearly one month earlier, a resident of the area had complained to Platte City Police about their windows being shot out with BB pellets. Platte City Police were already aware of the problem. That’s because the west side of the Platte City Civic Center – a building that the police themselves operate out of – had two of their windows shot up. And last week, one of their parked squad cars was hit.

“You can tell by looking at them because (the marking is) consistent every time,” said Sgt. Dennis Trabue of the Platte City Police Department. “(The shooter or shooters have) been active. We’ve been keeping our eyes open for BB guns because it’s going to be kids that have them.”

The problem escalates
A miniature crime wave spread through south Platte City over the weekend as residents on Wilson Drive repeated claims that the police have heard from residents from Wilson to Myers Drive: their car had been broken into and shot with a paintball gun. Four cars were rummaged through in the area, their doors and rear fenders splattered with purple, green and yellow paintballs in each instance.

The situation turned deadly serious on May 2 at Wilson Drive: the owner of a black sport utility vehicle reported that a loaded 9mm Smith and Wesson revolver was stolen out of his vehicle.

According to police, the vehicle – which was unlocked and had the keys still in the ignition – also had a shotgun in the backseat, which was not stolen. Burglars also stole $17 dollars of cash out of his wallet (also left in the unlocked vehicle) but left his credit cards and identification. They also took the keys to the vehicle. The victim of the theft told police that he had “always done that and had never had a problem before.”

There is a problem now.

The 9mm carries a clip that has 15 rounds, and is listed as a semi-automatic weapon.

Luckily, Platte City Police have two suspects and are hoping to make an arrest and recovery of the weapon as The Landmark goes to press. In addition, The Landmark has learned that one of the suspects was allegedly spotted leaving the scene of the crime on a skateboard, which may explain why the unwieldy shotgun wasn’t stolen as well.

For Platte City, already worried about the proliferation of skateboarders in the downtown area, the problem seems to underscore Platte City Police Chief Joe McHale’s concerns as presented to the city’s aldermen at last week’s meeting of the board. There, McHale complained that skateboarders were destroying public property and he outlined plans to increase enforcement and fines for skateboarders in the downtown area.

McHale acknowledged that the suspects had “been shooting everything up under the sun” but said that the department was close to resolving the situation.

“We’re gonna get these guys,” McHale promised.


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