Police and parents of slain girl warn of celebratory gunfire dangers

Publish Date 07/03/2019

Police and the parents of a Kansas City girl killed by celebratory gunfire have spent the last two days going door to door in certain neighborhoods asking residents not to shoot guns off on July 4th and to report anyone seen doing so.

Blair Shanahan Lane was 11 years old and celebrating Independence Day on July 4, 2011, when she was struck and killed by a stray bullet from celebratory gunfire. This was the fourth year that Blair’s parents, Brian Demoss and Michelle Shanahan-Demoss, have joined police to educate residents in neighborhoods with high incidences of gunfire on the Fourth of July about the dangers.

Using information from the ShotSpotter gunshot detection system, police went to neighborhoods on July 1 and 2 with the highest recorded numbers of shots fired on July 4 the previous year. In the last three years of this project, there was no July 4th gunfire in the neighborhoods police visited. 

“On the day Blair was murdered, several shots were fired from the men who killed her,” Sergeant Jake Becchina said. “Not once did someone call 911 to report the gunfire. That has to change.”

Accompanying police and Blair’s parents on the door-to-door educational campaign this year were KCPD Community Interaction Officers, a KCPD social service worker, as well as officers from KCPD’s Law Enforcement Resource Center, and patrol divisions.