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Kansas City bystander was fatally shot during driving gunfight: court records

·3 min read

Kansas City’s latest homicide victim was an uninvolved bystander hit by a stray bullet as two suspects fired shots from one moving car at another in an apparent attempt to exact vigilante justice, according to court records.

Jose Fuentes, 33, was shot in the back of the head on July 20 in the 1600 block of Belmont Avenue while scrambling to get out of the way as bullets flew from the passenger window of a black sedan, according to court records. He was taken to an area hospital and clung to life for nine days before he died Thursday, according to police.

Prosecutors have so far charged Amanda Hendren, 34, and her boyfriend Kenneth C. Wilkinson, 23, in connection with the shooting. They both currently face charges of firing a gun from a moving vehicle and armed criminal action.

In an interview with police, Hendren and Wilkinson allegedly admitted to taking part in the shooting. They told police they were chasing after the car related to a dispute that stemmed from Hendren being assaulted by its occupant.

On the day of the shooting, about eight minutes beforehand, officers were roughly two blocks away interviewing a witness who had called the police on Wilkinson and Hendren related to a disturbance involving a firearm.

The witness told officers that Wilkinson and Hendren, along with others, had come to the home looking for someone they had previously assaulted, according to court records. Wilkinson had brandished a gun at the house, the witness told police.

As officers were taking the witness’s statement, they heard between six and eight gunshots and then saw a black sedan speeding down 17th Street. The event was captured on their body cameras, according to court records.

Investigators were also given surveillance video from the home where Fuentes was found shot. They compared the video with a license plate reader posted at 17th Street and Topping Avenue to track the cars involved.

One car was registered to Hendren at an address in the North Indian Mound neighborhood. Police arrested Hendren and Wilkinson there on the night of the shooting.

Hendren told police Wilkinson, her 14-year-old daughter, her daughter’s boyfriend and another man were all together in her car when they encountered the person who had assaulted her, according to court records. She said at one point, they came up to the vehicle at a four-way stop and Wilkinson fired an entire clip at the car.

She told them she then followed the car while Wilkinson fired a different handgun registered to her, court records said. The group drove home after they lost sight of the other car, Hendren told police.

In his interview with police, Wilkinson allegedly said he stayed at the house with everyone while Hendren ditched the guns somewhere. He also told police the other car had chased and fired shots at them first.

Police also interviewed the driver of the other car. He told police that he had seen Hendren and Wilkerson on the street while driving to his friend’s house. At that time, he said, he saw Wilkinson draw a gun from his waistband before several gunshots rang out.

While he sped away, he told police he saw Wilkinson firing shots at him from the passenger window. There was a group of people on the block in the way of the gunfire, he told police.

Fuentes’s death marks Kansas City’s 87th homicide this year, according to data maintained by The Star. In 2020, the city’s most violent year on record, there had been 115 homicides during the same time frame.

With the death of Fuentes, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office is now reviewing the case for additional criminal charges against Hendren and Wilkinson, office spokesman Michael Mansur told The Star on Friday.

Hendren and Wilkinson are being held in Jackson County jail.

The Star’s Glenn E. Rice contributed to this report.

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