August 7, 2014

At least 4 shot during clash at apartment complex at 25th, Grove

The sound of gunfire jolted Banty awake.

The sound of gunfire jolted Banty awake.

He’s heard plenty of gunfire before, he said — both in combat in Vietnam and even in his neighborhood around 25th and Grove.

“Nothing scares me,” said Banty, 73, who didn’t want to give his last name. “I was in Vietnam.”

But this gunfire was different. It was close: right across from his second-floor apartment at Calvary Towers in the 2600 block of North Grove. Several shots followed by a pause of a few seconds and then another volley of numerous shots just after 4 a.m.

It was enough to convince Banty to stay under the covers rather than go out in the hallway to see what was going on.

The violent clash left several men with gunshot wounds early Thursday morning. Police officials say there were four people wounded, but some residents at Calvary Towers are saying seven.

“They don’t know about the rest because they didn’t go to the hospital,” said Geronimo Martin, a tenant.

One of the four victims, a 25-year-old man, is in critical condition at a local hospital, Capt. Troy Livingston said.

“We are still trying to discern everyone’s involvement,” Livingston said. “I think we’ve got some of our main players identified.

“However, when you have a scene like this that is so violent and everyone is injured, information comes slowly.”

Not all of the four victims confirmed by police arrived at hospitals by ambulance, Livingston said. The most critically injured victim, the 25-year-old, has gunshot wounds to his upper right chest and both legs.

A 41-year-old man has gunshot wounds to his right foot, right arm and right leg.

A 29-year-old man was shot in his stomach and left leg, and a Sedgwick County dispatcher said he was transported to Via Christi Hospital in serious condition.

A 28-year-old man was shot in the leg.

At least one of the victims walked into Via Christi Hospital St. Francis for treatment of his gunshot wounds, the dispatcher said, and another walked into Wesley Medical Center.

Crime scene investigators were still processing evidence hours after the shooting occurred until they finally wrapped up at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

“We believe there was an exchange of gunfire,” Livingston said. “Now it’s just a process of identifying the roles.”

Word around the apartment building is there was a gambling game under way at the time of the shootings, Martin said. Police did not confirm that information Thursday afternoon.

Police are still looking for witnesses, Livingston said.

“I can’t say we’re not looking for more people,” Livingston said. “Could there be more people involved? Perhaps.”

Police officials aren’t ready to talk about what role, if any, gang-related activities or feuds played in the shootings.

Officers checked apartments next to and below the one where the shootings occurred, Livingston said, but found no more shooting victims.

Banty said he has only lived at the building for three months, but that’s already “too damn long.”

“The worst people here are the people who don’t even live here,” said Martin, who slept through all the noise of the shootings and the emergency vehicles.

A wrought iron fence surrounds the property, he said, but the electronic gate is broken so people can come and go as they please. On hot summer nights, the benches in front of the building and the adjacent parking lot fill up with people from the surrounding neighborhood who are seeking a cool place to congregate.

It’s not hard to see people with liquor and weapons and bad attitudes in front of the building at night, he said.

“It’s getting worse and worse,” Martin said. “There’s going to be murder out here before too long.”

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