Police chief: Recent shootings not unique to Leavenworth

John Richmeier

Leavenworth has had several shootings in recent months. But the Leavenworth police chief said this is not unique to the city.

Chief Pat Kitchens said the law enforcement community in the United States has seen an uptick in gun violence.

“If you look around at our metropolitan area, I think Kansas City is struggling,” he said. “We are struggling.”

Recent shootings in Leavenworth have resulted in two homicides.

Sanquan M. Brooks was killed in a July 18 shooting on North 13th Terrace. Last week, Kitchens announced a suspect, Cody Nichols, had been arrested in Missouri in connection to the shooting.

Matthew Smith was killed during an Aug. 16 shooting on Eisenhower Road. Last week, the Leavenworth Police Department released photographs of a possible witness investigators are trying to identify.

In May, a man allegedly fired at occupied vehicles on Centennial Bridge, which stretches across the Missouri River from Leavenworth to Platte County, Missouri.

Jason R. Westrem is facing nine felony charges, including attempted first-degree murder, in connection to this incident.

In recent weeks, there have been shootings reported in and around the Woodland Village Apartments, which are located in the area of Limit Street and Wilson Avenue.

The most recent shooting at the apartment complex was reported Thursday. A man reportedly was shot while standing in front of an apartment. The man’s injuries are not considered life-threatening.

Kitchens said shootings at the apartment complex have drawn the full attention of the Leavenworth Police Department. The department now has a heavier presence at the complex.

“We are garnering a lot of cooperation from the apartment complex ownership and the property managers,” Kitchens said.

He said police officers now have immediate access to video from the complex’s security camera system.

Kitchens said an obstacle the Leavenworth Police Department has encountered during some recent shooting investigations is a lack of cooperation from victims.

“You have to have the cooperation of the victim,” Kitchens said.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR