NATIONAL NEWS

In the chaos of the Kansas City parade shooting, he’s hit and doesn’t know where his kids are

Feb 16, 2024, 10:56 AM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Jacob Gooch was having what was sure to be the best day of his year, hanging out with his wife and children and friends in the massive, happy, high-fiving crowd of fellow Kansas City Chiefs fans at the parade celebrating their Super Bowl victory. Then he heard “pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop,” and saw flying debris and people coming toward him.

He didn’t realize it was gunshots until after he felt his ankle or foot burning. He tried to run but collapsed and army-crawled up a median. People asked him what was happening, and he told them, get down; get away! His wife was there, and she had been hit. His daughter and two sons? Where were they? And why couldn’t he walk?

“It was bullets, and it was panic, and it was like, ‘Oh, are they going to shoot again?’ ” he said Thursday, the day after the parade. “We had to get our kids and take cover, and I couldn’t help get our kids, and that killed me. I had to sit there and just wonder what was going to happen next.”

Gooch, his wife and his oldest son, 13, were among 23 people shot at the end of Wednesday’s parade, one of them fatally: Lisa Lopez-Galvan, a 43-year-old DJ known as Lisa G. and host of a local radio show on Tejano music.

Police say the shooting appears to have stemmed from a dispute among several people in a crowd of perhaps a million people watching the parade. Two juveniles face what prosecutors said where “gun-related and resisting arrest” charges. Gooch said his wife and daughter saw someone pull a gun.

Gooch was shot in the ankle, and the bullet broke a couple of bones before exiting through his foot. His wife was shot in the calf but could walk. His oldest son has a bullet in his foot. Officers or paramedics got them into a medical tent, and they eventially went to a hospital.

Gooch, a 37-year-old resident of Leavenworth, Kansas, about 25 miles northwest of Union Station, related his experiences in an Associated Press interview outside his apartment, his crutches leaning against the door jamb behind him. He wore a Chiefs cap and T-shirt.

He said he, his family and friends were in a crowd leaving the celebration in front of Union Station when the shooting started.

“We had heard a lady telling a guy, ‘Not right now. This isn’t the time or this isn’t the place,’ or something like that. And then pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. You know, now, in my head, I’m thinking it’s fireworks,” Gooch said. “What I’m about to describe is all within, like, four seconds, real quick.”

Gooch said he is expecting three to six months of physical rehabilitation for his injuries, and he will be off work. His disability benefits were arranged quickly because he messaged his boss after getting shot — and, he said, did a Snapchat professionally.

“I don’t want people to be scared. I mean, this could happen anywhere at any time. It’s like, OK, I’m scared. I just gotta keep going,” he said.

Gooch said his family is now unsure about hanging out outside Union Station at another Super Bowl parade. He is not, and he expects to go back for a parade for another championship next year.

“I took a bullet for y’all. Y’all better go back next year,” Gooch said.

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Hanna reported from Topeka, Kansas. Associated Press writers Trisha Ahmed in St. Paul, Minnesota, contributed to this story.

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Ahmed is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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In the chaos of the Kansas City parade shooting, he’s hit and doesn’t know where his kids are