Story | KC snowplow driver shot on the job Friday
By CHRISTINE VENDEL and DONALD BRADLEY
The Kansas City Star
A gunman shot a snowplow driver in the back early Friday while the driver was pulled over taking a work break in south Kansas City.
The driver, an 11-year veteran with the city’s Public Works Department, radioed his dispatcher about 2:35 a.m. and said he’d been shot at Interstate 470 and James A. Reed Road.
He was taken to a hospital in serious but stable condition.
The 31-year-old driver told police he was stopped under an overpass when a brown or bronze Ford pulled up next to his snowplow. A man with a red bandana covering his face fired twice into the snowplow’s cab as the driver dived out the passenger side. The driver said he stayed on the ground and “played dead.”
He did not know his attacker, detectives said. Police found bullet holes in the rear of the driver’s side of the cab.
The victim told police he didn’t want to pursue prosecution because he didn’t get a good look at the shooter and didn’t want to identify the wrong person. But police still were investigating and planned to compare evidence to other shootings.
Public works officials say they don’t think other snowplow drivers are in danger.
“Police never indicated to us that that was a concern,” Public Works spokesman Dennis Gagnon said late Friday.
Though no official warning was delivered to the drivers, work groups talked about the incident, Gagnon said.
Meanwhile, in a city struggling to clear streets of snow, the shooting caused one big rig to be removed from the fleet. Police seized the snowplow because it was considered evidence.
“We’ll get it back when they get done with it,” Gagnon said.
Police were investigating whether the shooting was related to an armed robbery four men committed about 90 minutes earlier at a convenience store three miles away.
Three robbers — one holding a shotgun and covering his face with a black bandana — barged into the Express Mart, 7007 Longview Road, about 1 a.m. The fourth robber stood guard outside.
The gunman ordered the clerk to the floor and demanded cash, “Newports and Hennessy.” The clerk put the items in a bag as another robber stole beer from the cooler. The robbers fled in a beige-colored Ford Escort.
Anyone with information about either crime is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).