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Kansas City Parade Marred by Violence

March 18, 2006

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Shots were fired and a family was attacked in a parking lot during Kansas City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, two years after similar violence prompted police to beef up parade security.

Police broke up at least 10 fights at Friday’s parade, tackled a gunman and nearly shot a juvenile who had a toy gun. At least 11 people were charged with various offenses.

``I don’t recall anything like this last year,″ said police Capt. Mark Francisco. ``It seemed really rowdy. There was certainly more violence than you think you’d need at a parade.″

Toward the end of the parade, a Kansas City Star employee and his family were kicked and beaten in one of the newspaper’s parking lots. A witness and Star security officials said one youth fired a gun into the air. No one was arrested in that incident.

The Star employee had a gash on his head and was treated in a hospital for a possible concussion.

Parade organizers and police had invested money and effort into addressing the problems that arose two years ago, when two bystanders were shot and wounded and 17 people were arrested, said Mary Nestel, lead organizer of the parade.

The parade now starts earlier, the route has been shortened and the law enforcement presence has been strengthened.

``I think we were adequately staffed,″ police Capt. Rich Lockhart said.

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