Jacob Gooch Jr. had been enjoying the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl victory parade with his dad, stepmom and siblings when a gunman began shooting about 15-feet away from where his family was standing.

The family ran in different directions, with Jacob, 13, losing his shoes as they scattered. It wasn’t until later, when they reunited, that he realized he’d been shot — among a dozen children who had been injured in the shooting and its aftermath. A bullet is still lodged in his foot.

His father, Jacob Gooch, 37, and stepmother, Emily Tavis, 32, both of whom were also shot, relayed accounts of the day, describing their horror and devastation as the celebration in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, on Wednesday, turned into tragedy.

Emily Tavis, left; her stepchildren Kyndall Roberts and Levi Gooch; her partner, Jacob Gooch; and his son, Jacob Gooch Jr., celebrate at the Kansas City Chiefs’ rally Wednesday.Emily Tavis

“It’s just senseless. You’re not going to make sense of it,” said Gooch, who was shot in the right ankle and was using crutches Thursday. Tavis was shot in her right leg.

Jacob was one of at least 12 children injured Wednesday. People under the age of 16 accounted for half of the more than 20 people injured, Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves said at a Thursday morning news conference. The injured range in age from 8 to 47, the chief said.

Children’s Mercy Hospital said that it had received 12 patients from the celebration, 11 of whom are 6 to 15 years old. Nine of them were shot, a spokesperson for the Kansas City hospital said Thursday. Three children remained hospitalized Thursday afternoon, Stephanie Meyer, the hospital’s chief nursing officer said at a news conference. They are “doing well” and are all expected to recover, Meyer said.

The reason for the discrepancy between the police and the hospital’s account of the youngest child injured is unclear.

Image: parade
People flee after shots were fired near the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl parade Wednesday.Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP – Getty Images

Bridget Barton said she was at the parade with her husband and 13-year-old daughter when she heard what sounded like fireworks before she saw a person shooting a handgun.

“My daughter was screaming,” Barton said.

She said she grabbed her daughter by the neck and pushed her down to get her out of the line of fire. Barton later found a bullet rooted in the backpack she had been wearing and believes the bag saved her life.

Barton said her daughter “has burns on her legs” that emergency personnel told her appear to be from gunshots.

She said she’s worried about her daughter having witnessed such trauma at a young age, including seeing other people shot.

“My daughter watched all that,” Barton said. 

“I’ve washed blood off her tennis shoes.”

The shooting stemmed from what “appeared to be a dispute between several people that ended in gunfire,” Graves said Thursday.

Police said Thursday afternoon that two juveniles were in custody in connection with the shooting and that officers were working to determine if anyone else was involved. No additional information was released about those who had been detained. Graves said investigators have not found a link to terrorism or extremism.

Twenty-two people were injured in the shooting and a 43-year-old woman was killed. She has been identified as Lisa Lopez-Galvan, a popular local radio DJ who was attending the celebration with her son, a fan of the Chiefs.

Three people remained hospitalized at University Health on Thursday afternoon, Dr. Mark Steele, the executive chief clinical officer said. One was in stable condition, and the other two remained in critical condition, but were improving, Steele said. Five of the gunshot wound victims the hospital received were released Wednesday night, he said.

One gunshot wound patient was still in critical condition at St. Luke’s Hospital as of Thursday morning, the hospital said. Four walk-in patients with minor injuries from fleeing the scene had all been treated and released, it said.

Emily Tavis, 32, and her partner Jacob Gooch, 37, were both shot while celebrating at the Kansas City Chiefs' rally with their children. Gooch's 13-year-old son was shot in the foot.
Emily Tavis, 32, and her partner, Jacob Gooch, 37, were shot celebrating at the Kansas City Chiefs’ rally with their children. Gooch’s 13-year-old son was shot in the foot.NBC News

That so many of the victims were young children is especially difficult to process, Tavis said.

“I hate to think that my stepson has a bullet in his foot, but he’s 13. I mean, there’s not a 13-year-old in the world that should have to have that,” she said.

Still, she said her family is “fortunate” to all be alive.

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