One person was killed and five others were injured when a gunfight erupted outside a downtown Kansas City, Missouri, bar, prompting three off-duty police officers working security at the establishment to return fire, authorities said.
The mass-casualty shooting was condemned by Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, who in an interview Monday with ABC affiliate station WMBC in Kansas City said the episode appeared to be the result of "dramatic Wild West-type behavior."
"We had off-duty police officers who were there, security guards who were there and there's still people shooting back and forth at each other a few feet away from police officers," said Lucas, who visited the White House Monday for a previously planned forum on how to curb rise in gun violence across the nation.
Sunday's shooting unfolded around 11 p.m. outside a bar in Kansas City's Westport entertainment district, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol, which is leading the investigation.
A disturbance broke out inside the Westport Ale House and at some point spilled outside, where investigators believe multiple people engaged in a gunfight in which numerous shots were fired, Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Bill Lowe said during a news conference.
Three off-duty Kansas City Police Department officers were working security at the Westport Ale House at the time of the shooting and ended up firing their weapons during the barrage of gunfire outside the watering hole, Lowe said.
Six people suffered gunshot wounds, including the person who was later pronounced dead at a hospital, according to Lowe. He said the five people who were wounded were in stable condition.
Lowe said none of the off-duty police officers involved in the incident were not injured. There names were not released.
He said an investigation is underway to determine if the people hit by gunfire were shot by the suspects who initially opened fire or by the off-duty officers who responded to the shooting.
The shooting came just seven days after four people were wounded, including a juvenile, in a shooting that broke out after a Fourth of July concert at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City's popular Power & Light District, police said.
According to Kansas City Police Department crime data, the city has recorded 79 homicides this year compared to 78 by this time in 2021. The statistics show Kansas City had a total of 157 homicides in 2021, the second highest in city history behind the 179 homicides that occurred in 2020.
Mayor Lucas said he believes two things are at the root of his city's gun violence problem: Easy access to firearms and people in the community using them "with impunity."
"It's a troubling thing in our society when it's easier to get a gun, particularly an assault weapon, rather than getting a therapist," Lucas told WMBC. "This is something that is facing my community literally every day. We report the homicides, but there are roughly 500-plus people shot in Kansas City each year."