An 18-year-old Kansas City man has been charged in the shooting death of a 25-year-old woman police describe as an innocent bystander hit by a stray bullet Friday night during a fight at a popular monthly arts festival on the edge of downtown.
Deon'te Copkney was arrested Saturday and charged with second-degree murder. Officers said they saw Copkney drop a handgun as he was running from the scene and that it was later determined to be the gun used in the shooting that killed Erin Langhofer, of Overland Park, Kansas, as the First Friday event was underway.
Police were called just after 10 p.m. about a fight and say officers arriving on the scene saw people gathered, then heard gunshots. As the crowd cleared, a woman later identified as Langhofer was found with a gunshot wound. She was near a food truck when she was hit, police said. She died at a hospital.
Police spokesman Capt. Tim Hernandez told the Kansas City Star that officers heard numerous shots.
"At this point, they began to take cover, and they tried to identify where the shots were coming from," Hernandez said. "Of course, when you have thousands of people and you have shots being fired like this, people just started scattering in every direction."
Police said three people seen running from the area were detained for questioning. Copkney was arrested Saturday and is also charged with unlawful use of a weapon and armed criminal action. He remained jailed Saturday. Online court records did not indicate whether Copkney has an attorney to speak for him.
Friends and family gathered at Langhofer's family home on Saturday. Langhofer was the daughter of a pastor at the United Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, the largest Methodist congregation in the U.S. She had been attending the First Friday event with her boyfriend when she was killed, said senior pastor Adam Hamilton.
Langhofer graduated in 2016 from the University of Kansas with a degree in social work, and had worked at a domestic violence center, her friends said.
"She was a gift," said Scott Kormann, a neighbor who knew Langhofer since her birth. "She wanted you to be a better person."
Kormann's daughter, 26-year-old Liz Kormann, was preparing to ask Langhofer to be her maid of honor at her upcoming wedding.
"The world lost a good one," Liz Kormann's fiancé, Danny Dolan, said. "We're lucky to have had her as long as we did."