An after-hours “warehouse party” turned deadly early Sunday morning when members of a rival gang showed up and an altercation escalated to gunfire, Wichita police said Monday.
Killed in the shootout was 27-year-old James Gary, Lt. Scott Heimerman said. Four other people were injured, including two critically.
A suspect has been identified in Gary’s death, Heimerman said, but police are not releasing his name or description because they don’t want him to know he’s the target of a manhunt.
“This murder is a gang-related shooting,” said Heimerman, head of the department’s gang unit.
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The shooting, near 11th and Mosley, was reported at about 3:20 a.m. in the 800 block of East 11th – the site of an auto repair shop. The owner has been renting the warehouse out for parties held after the clubs in Old Town close.
“It’s a legitimate business,” Heimerman said of the auto repair shop, which has been in business for only about a month.
More than 100 people had gathered at the warehouse and parking lot when members of a rival gang showed up. Arguments broke out and shots were exchanged, Heimerman said.
He would not say how many shooters there were or how many shots were fired. But he did say both the suspect and Gary were documented gang members.
“The majority of the victims shot in this incident were not involved in the dispute,” Heimerman said.
Police found three people lying in the parking lot, all critically wounded. Gary was taken to Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis, where he was pronounced dead at 4:55 a.m.
A 26-year-old man taken to St. Francis underwent several hours of surgery and remains in “very critical” condition, Heimerman said.
A 34-year-old man was taken to Wesley Medical Center, where he also underwent extended surgery and has stabilized, Heimerman said.
Two women were driven to St. Francis, where their gunshot wounds were treated and they were released.
Police do not consider the suspect to be a threat to the general public, Heimerman said.
“We’ll continue to look for him,” he said, and if he is not apprehended soon more information about him will be released.
This is the first violent incident at the auto repair shop, Heimerman said, but police will now be monitoring the location more closely given what’s happened.
Kansas Department of Corrections records show that Gary had absconded from parole on June 6. He had been released on parole in May and had an extensive criminal history that included convictions on drug offenses, criminal possession of a firearm, aggravated assault and burglary.
This is the ninth homicide of the year in Wichita, Capt. Brent Allred said.