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3 more people are charged in connection with the Super Bowl victory rally shooting

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Prosecutors have announced charges against three additional people in connection with last month's Super Bowl victory parade shooting in Kansas City. The three men are not accused of opening fire that day but of taking part in illegal firearm sales involving two firearms found at the scene. Court documents show investigators believe 12 people brandished firearms and at least six opened fire at the parade, killing one person. However, prosecutors are treating the incident as a mass shooting. KCUR's Frank Morris has more. And a warning, this piece contains the sound of gunfire.

FRANK MORRIS, BYLINE: Authorities announced early in the investigation of the Super Bowl rally shooting that it started with a mundane argument that sparked a gunfight that left one person dead and more than a dozen injured.

JOHNNY WALLER: I thought it was a tragedy, but not uncommon.

MORRIS: Johnny Waller, a Kansas City community activist, says the Super Bowl victory rally was just an unusual setting for an everyday event, the kind of thing that happened last summer right where he's standing, 57th and Prospect on the city's east side.

WALLER: It actually happened right over here. And again, a disagreement between two people turned into someone pulling out a firearm and discharging it.

MORRIS: Lots of guns came out, three people died, six others were hit. Just up the street, another shooting killed one and injured four. But shootings like that don't draw the most attention.

JILLIAN PETERSON: That's different than somebody entering an elementary school with an AR-15 to kill as many kids as possible.

MORRIS: Jillian Peterson, co-founder of the Violence Prevention Project, says those type of mission-driven shootings with at least four fatalities - think Columbine, Uvalde, Pulse nightclub - those happen much more frequently now. Typically, at least half a dozen times a year. But mass shootings under the broader definition, where at least four people are injured, those happen almost every day.

PETERSON: The vast majority of those are escalations of dispute, exactly like we saw in Kansas City. So fights that escalate because people are armed where they didn't wake up thinking, I'm going to commit murder today.

MORRIS: Mass shootings happened 656 times in the United States last year, so pretty close to two a day, according to the Gun Violence Archives. Johnny Waller says he understands precisely how the spontaneous ones work.

WALLER: If you pull a gun on my people, then we all going to pull guns on you. And if you start shooting at one of my people, then we're going to have to start shooting at you. So as soon as the first firearm is produced, then everybody who got a gun is going to produce a firearm and start shooting. And so that's just how it goes.

MORRIS: Police say that's how it went at the Super Bowl victory rally, with thousands of people packed in around Kansas City's Union Station.

(SOUNDBITE OF GUNSHOTS FIRING)

MORRIS: There were lots of guns at the rally and little kids were carrying some of them. Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker says there's a reason for that, Missouri law. Baker says people carrying their pistols, their shotguns, their high-powered rifles into the big, dense crowd that day were completely within their rights in the state of Missouri, where everybody besides convicted felons can carry guns, even children.

JEAN PETERS BAKER: Yes, yes. A juvenile is allowed to possess a weapon, concealed or not, like, on his back or in his pants. And it can be a long gun. It can be an assault rifle. It just can't be fully automatic.

MORRIS: Baker says it's been this way since 2017, when Missouri got rid of most restrictions on carrying weapons. Under state law, firearms are legal until they're pointed at someone, which gives police officers almost no time to stop spontaneous public violence that ends in a mass shooting.

For NPR News, I'm Frank Morris in Kansas City.

(SOUNDBITE OF SLEEP DEALER'S "THE WAY HOME") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Frank Morris