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Missouri leaders pause day after mass shooting at Super Bowl victory celebration

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(The Center Square) – Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson postponed a public announcement on Thursday and the House speaker abruptly ended a media briefing after opening with remarks about Wednesday’s mass shooting after the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl parade and rally.

“Response efforts to yesterday’s shooting are the priority, and Governor Parson’s schedule has been adjusted accordingly,” Jonathan Shiflett, Parson’s press secretary, wrote in an email to The Center Square.

Parson, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, both Democrats, attended the rally.

“I have been evacuated and am out of harm’s way,” Kelly posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “I encourage everyone to follow instructions and updates from @kcpolice.”

Multiple media outlets reported one fatality and 11 of 22 people injured were children. More than a million people are estimated to have attended the event and security included approximately 1,000 police officers and FBI personnel.

House Speaker Dean Plocher, R-St. Louis, opened a press conference with reporters expressing empathy with the victims and for the family of the person killed in the shooting. He refused to comment about the ongoing investigation, highlighted a crime bill advancing in the House and abruptly ended the briefing after several questions on Missouri gun laws and possible legislation.

“Laws alone don’t solve the problem, OK?” Plocher said. “So we will evaluate the investigation as it unfolds and address that. We’re not going to dwell on Kansas City today.”

Parson was scheduled to hold a press conference Thursday to announce Missouri “resources and personnel” to be deployed to the Southern border to support Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star program. Parson was one of 13 Republican governors to travel to Eagle Pass, Texas, earlier this month to pledge their commitment to border security.

Parson’s announcement was frontloaded by Republican members of the House as Rep. Kurtis Gregory, R-Marshall, introduced a resolution urging the governor to deploy the Missouri National Guard to Texas to help secure the border. Rep. Aaron McMullen, R-Independence, distributed a media release promoting his resolution on deploying Missouri resources to the border as “bipartisan initiatives that prioritize the safety and security of the United States.”

The Missouri Senate adjourned for the week on Tuesday for members to attend the parade and rally. The Republican Party’s Lincoln Days will be held in Kansas City this weekend.

Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo, D-Independence, attended the celebration and praised the response of Kansas City law enforcement.

“I am beyond grateful to the @kcpolice and first responders who helped get me and countless others to safety today,” Rizzo posted on X. “We shouldn’t have to live like this. We need common sense gun safety laws and we need them now. It’s not about politics, it’s about the kind of world we want for our kids.”

Plocher urged the media to question Rep. Lane Roberts, a Republican and the former chief of police in Joplin, about House Bill 1659, a comprehensive crime bill that includes outlawing celebratory gunfire. But even Roberts departed from remarks on the bill to comment on Wednesday’s events.

“Policing a free nation is difficult,” Roberts said. “So when we try to do things that augment the efforts of our police agencies without treading on the rights of other people, it can be a real difficult balance. I know police officers face that every single day. You know, when the chips are down, like they were yesterday, we expect them to come in and solve the problem. So I don’t want to hamper them. I want to give them some good tools.”

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