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3 years before Kansas City mass shooting, suspect drew gun at rec center basketball game

In World
February 23, 2024

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Star is for the first time publishing a booking photo for Lyndell Mays, who was taken to the Jackson County Detention Center Tuesday night after being treated at a hospital. The Star had waited until Wednesday to understand why a booking photo of Dominic M. Miller was not available. The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office said Wednesday morning that Miller is still at the hospital and had not yet been photographed. In addition, we took the time to carefully consider whether to use booking mugs in the absence of other images of the adult suspects; The Star policy is to use booking mugs only in the highest profile of crimes.

Roughly three years before Lyndell Mays allegedly pulled a gun at the Kansas City Chiefs victory rally and fired, the 23-year-old was a suspect in another incident involving a firearm displayed in a public place.

Police reports obtained by The Star on Thursday outline an earlier incident in April 2021 at the High Blue Wellness Center in suburban Belton.

Mays was identified among three viewed on surveillance cameras drawing a gun from a backpack during an argument on the indoor basketball court over whose turn it was to play next.

For the offense, to which Mays pleaded guilty, a municipal judge ordered 90 days in jail plus two years of probation. The period of probation took effect Feb. 8, 2022, and sunset six days before Mays allegedly set off a chain of gunfire that left 25 people shot, including several children and a bystander who died.

Three guns pulled in earlier incident

The earlier case was investigated by the Belton Police Department.

On April 21, 2021, around 8 p.m., officers were dispatched to a report of an armed disturbance inside the gymnasium of the community center at 16400 N. Mullen Road.

One of the responding officers saw as many as 15 people leaving through the front doors for the parking lot. Around the other side of the building, a witness was found hiding near a bush.

The hiding witness said he was waiting for things to calm down before returning to his car. He told police he ran out the side door of the gym when someone pulled out a gun, frightening him.

Another witness inside the gym told an officer there had been an argument about who would play the next game. He described a large group, an argument, and people leaving, but made no mention of guns.

Surveillance video was reviewed by police. It showed men arguing inside the gymnasium before three suspects — including Mays — retrieved handguns from backpacks, according to the police incident report.

One of the suspects chased a person, while holding the gun, and another held a firearm above his head for a few seconds. A third, who entered the community center without paying for a day pass, was also seen running with a gun.

Police records obtained by The Star do not make clear which of the men seen in the video was ultimately identified as Mays.

A registry at the front desk contained names, phone numbers and addresses of those who checked in for a day pass at the community center. The list of names at the front desk led police to Mays along with another man, who was also cited for disorderly conduct.

The three who were seen carrying guns arrived and left together in a blue Dodge Challenger. A clear picture of its license plate could not be pulled off the surveillance tape by police. The third person seen with a gun was not identified.

Police were also unsuccessful in locating two people who were seen being chased. A document provided to police by Belton Parks and Recreation gave a lead on who they might have been, which apparently did not pan out.

Phone numbers for the two people did not work. Neither went to the Belton Police Station to report witnessing the event or being a crime victim, according to the police incident reports.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker on Tuesday announced charges of second-degree felony murder, armed criminal action and unlawful weapon use against Mays. He is accused of firing the first gunshots at the rally Feb. 14 following a seemingly petty argument with strangers.

Mays said he was ‘just being stupid’

According to charging documents, witnesses said a group of four males approached Mays and asked what he was looking at. They did not know each other, according to a probable cause affidavit prepared by Kansas City police.

An argument broke out and Mays allegedly pulled out a gun. Almost immediately, others, including 18-year-old Dominic Miller, pulled their firearms. A volley of gunfire broke out, sending throngs of people running for cover

Mays was among those shot during the rally. During a police interview, Mays allegedly admitted to firing the first shot.

He expressed fear for himself and another person in his group as he heard the group saying: “I’m going to get you.”

When detectives asked Mays why he advanced toward the group to begin with, he allegedly replied: “Stupid, man. Just pulled a gun out and started shooting. I shouldn’t have done that. Just being stupid.”

Miller, juveniles also face charges

Charges have also been filed against Miller, also shot during the rally, who allegedly fired the shot that killed 43-year-old Lisa Lopez-Galvan, the Johnson County mother of two. He is accused of murder and other crimes.

Two juveniles also face criminal charges. Because of their ages, among the details being withheld by authorities, their case is being handled by the family court division of Jackson County Circuit Court.

Authorities have said the minors face “gun related” and resisting arrest charges. Depending on the severity of the crimes, they may face a certification hearing to be tried as adults. Both were ordered held in juvenile detention last week.

Mays made his first appearance in Jackson County Circuit Court on Wednesday. Online court records list no defense attorney representing him in the case.

The Star’s Glenn E. Rice, Andrea Klick, Robert A. Cronkleton and Katie Moore contributed to this report.

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