An Independence mother and two men were shot during a home invasion robbery early Friday. A fourth person remains hospitalized in critical condition.
Independence police remain on the scene of the home at 1505 South Pope Ave. after at least two people burst into the home about 4:30 a.m. and opened fire. Police have yet to release detailed suspect descriptions.
"This was not a random act of violence," said Independence Police Capt. John Cato. "It appears the motive was a residential attempted robbery. The victims and the suspects knew each other."
KCTV5 reporter Heather Staggers saw the Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office remove two of the bodies from inside the home late Friday afternoon. Police have yet to say whether the third person died inside the home or at the hospital.
Those killed were Maria Hernandez, 48, her 20-year-old son Antonio Hernandez and her boyfriend, Tomas Madrigal. The name and age of the fourth person shot has not been released with the shooters still on the loose.
Police say they believe the shooters knew the victims, and robbery was the motive. Both male suspects wore masks. One was a stocky man dressed in all red while the second was a slender man dressed in all black.
Other children were inside the home. Two sisters, 15 and 11 years old, ran to a neighbor's house in desperation when they woke up to the gunfire. The neighbor summoned the authorities.
The home is southeast of 23rd Street and Noland Road. The family had moved into the home in the past year.
Neighbors tell KCTV5 the mother, her boyfriend, the uncle and the woman's six children lived inside the home. The youngest child was elementary school age.
One of the boys is a junior at Truman High School. Two neighbors separately told KCTV5 that the boy was involved in a school-related fight on Thursday.
Police have not said whether it's connected or not. A spokeswoman for the Independence School District said no fight occurred at the high school on Thursday. A district spokeswoman said at this time they are not taking any steps to offer additional counseling at district schools attended by those involving in the shooting.
Neighbors also described an issue over a missing puppy.
Residents described their shock and horror over the massacre.
"It's a shocker and it makes you wake up to what can happen in any neighborhood," Ron Hoy said.
Kristi Rubino woke up to the sounds of gunshots.
"I heard loud booms about 4:30ish so I got up to see what it was and I saw flash lights and police cars everywhere," she said.
Cindy Granger said she noticed numerous people coming and going from the home since the family moved in.
"There's traffic going in and out of their house all night long," she said.
Police are asking for anyone who can help with the investigation to calls the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.
"We are asking for the public's help in this one," Cato said. "If you have any information, call us."
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