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2-11-2015


Sleeping hotel guest
struck by stray bullet
Suspects in car break-ins
had fired gun at a witness

by Valerie Verkamp
Landmark assistant editor

A stray bullet entered a first floor window at an airport hotel and struck a guest in the leg.

The incident happened around 3 a.m. Tuesday at the Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham located at 11831 NW Plaza Circle Drive, Kansas City in Platte County, east of Interstate 29 not far from KCI Airport.

A massive hole can be seen where the bullet made its way through the thick glass of the hotel room window.

A longtime guest service agent at the hotel said at least two shots hit the hotel. The individual struck by the stray bullet was most likely asleep at the time and was not an intended target, he added.

Police say the guest's injury is non-life-threatening. Authorities say he is recovering at an area hospital.

Detectives with the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department were reviewing video surveillance Tuesday morning and combing through all accessible evidence.

Paul Burkhalter, community interaction officer with the Kansas City Police Department, later Tuesday revealed that the intended target was an unidentified witness who apparently saw three black males entering several parked vehicles in the hotel lot. When the witness confronted the perpetrators, the suspects fired several shots in the victim's general direction.

The witness was not hit, but a stray bullet entered into the hotel window, striking the hotel guest.

Authorities often refer to these parking lot vehicle crimes as a smash-and-grab, because the perpetrator usually breaks out a window and quickly makes off with merchandise.

Hotel employees say it has been at least a year since they have received a guest complaint regarding a smash-and-grab occurrence at Microtel.

Thieves also targeted several adjacent airport hotels parking lots early Tuesday.

Police say approximately, 30 vehicles in all were broken into at four different hotels.

Five guests at the Four Points by Sheraton had their truck windows broken out and items stolen. Hilton and Holiday Inn also reported multiple break-ins.

Officers were also interviewing guests at the Plaza Hotel, formerly known as the Clarion Hotel. No arrests have been made.

This type of crime isn't new to the I-29 corridor. Last July, more than 20 vehicles parked outside four airport hotels were struck. Thieves made off with a .22 caliber handgun, a .40 caliber handgun, credit cards, lap top computer, iPad, and GPS device.