Local resident recounts experience at Kansas City parade shooting

As a devoted fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, this was the third time Aberdeen resident and small business owner Michael Brown traveled to Kansas City to join the celebrations of the team’s Super Bowl victory at a parade held on Feb. 14.

Brown flew into the city and met with a friend he had made during the Chiefs’ previous parade in 2020. “If the Chiefs win the Super Bowl, and there’s a parade, I’m there for it,” Brown, who lives near the Hoke and Moore County line, said to Sandhills Sentinel.

At the time, he had no idea such a happy celebration could so easily devolve into a tragic situation for many.

The event attracted a massive crowd of approximately one million attendees; local schools even gave children the day off to join the celebration. Law enforcement heavily monitored the festivities, with over 600 officers from the Kansas City Police Department and an additional 200 officers deployed for security.

Brown recalled how the events unfolded from his point of view. “I heard the gunshots when they happened. I was to the right of the stage — at the corner of Main Street — and the shooting happened on the left side of the stage.”

He had just started walking back to his hotel room and was only a few steps out of the thick of the crowd when the shooting occurred. “I’d started to walk back as the parade ended; they shot the final confetti for the final celebration. When I started to walk back, I heard what ended up being gunshots.”

Brown was honest: “I thought it was just some idiot shooting fireworks. That was my first thought. It never occurred to me that someone might have done this, unfortunately, killing one person. I didn’t even think of that.”

He didn’t realize it was gunfire until he saw “a line of police cars as far as you could see with their lights on” rushing toward the parade as he walked back to his hotel room. This was when Brown started to feel uneasy.

Shortly after that, he began to meet other people in the street who told him something was wrong and that something had happened. A group of girls nearby let him know that one received a text from her aunt letting her know that “someone had been shot” at Union Station.

At that point, Brown realized the situation was dire. “I picked up my pace walking back to the hotel room,” he said. “I walked with [the girls] to make sure they got to their car safely, and then I got to my hotel room.”

Once back in his hotel room, Brown watched the nearby chaos unfolding on a local news station. “Of [those who] were shot, most of them were children,” he said. “That’s what stood out to me.”

Calls began coming in as friends and family members who saw the news and wanted to check on him. Brown made Facebook posts and checked on others who were there or may have known someone who was there. After making sure his loved ones knew he was safe, Brown couldn’t shake the disbelief that such a terrible thing happened at what has always been a happy event.

Brown kept up with the aftermath in the following days. According to reports from The Associated Press, 23 individuals were shot. Among the victims, one person lost their life, and 22 others sustained injuries. 

Though multiple arrests have been made, the investigation is still ongoing. 

Feature photo: A crowd enjoys the Kansas City parade after the Chiefs win the Super Bowl before gunfire erupts, killing one person and wounding 22 individuals on Feb. 14. Photo contributed by Aberdeen resident Michael Brown, who attended the event. 

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel reporter Abegail Murphy. 

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