ATCHISON, Kan. — A man suffered serious injuries after someone shot him near an Atchison, Kansas park hosting a popular annual festival. Police are looking for the shooter.
Atchison Police Chief Mike Wilson said that about 3 a.m. Sunday, the 42-year-old victim, not yet publicly identified, found himself in a vacant lot, where about 20 people had gathered in the 1100 block of North Eighth Street in Atchison.
The group occupied the area located to the immediate west of Atchison’s LFM Park, where the 14th Annual Atchison Juneteenth celebration began on Saturday morning. The annual Juneteenth celebrations draw hundreds of people to LFM Park and its surroundings. It’s not clear how many people had been in the area at the time of the shooting.
Nicole Thomas, chairwoman of the Atchison Juneteenth Committee, said the shooting shouldn’t be associated in any way with Juneteenth, and that she believes the people involved came into the area overnight following the conclusion of events on Saturday.
At the time of the incident on Sunday, an argument broke out among the group of 20 people near the park, Wilson said, before the victim suffered two gunshot wounds. Wilson said the man is not believed to have had any involvement in the argument.
“As we continue to talk to everyone involved throughout the evening, and we’ve even talked to some people a second time, we expect more information to be available later on,” Wilson said. “The early indications are that some type of disagreement broke out mainly between two people, and the victim was not actually part of that, but was nearby.”
Wilson said the shooting suspect is known to police, and is sought for his involvement in the early Sunday morning crime, but declined to say more about the shooter pending further investigations.
Atchison County EMS transported the victim, at the time suffering from life-threatening injuries, to Mosaic Life Care hospital in St. Joseph, where he remained as of Sunday afternoon. Wilson said he had no current information as to the victim’s condition, but that he had been receiving treatment throughout the course of Sunday, and had improved based on interactions between him and APD detectives, who visited him at the hospital.
Events proceeded as planned on Sunday at the Juneteenth Festival, while police units held station around the area for traffic control and security as part of their normal contributions to the event.