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Kansas City man charged with murder in Plaza hotel killing

June 30, 2021 GMT

A Kansas City man is charged with fatally shooting a friend at a hotel in the city’s upscale Country Club Plaza shopping district.

Derell Thompson, 35, is jailed without bond on a charge of second-degree murder in the Tuesday morning shooting of Darron Mitchem at the Sheraton Suites County Club Plaza. Thompson then allegedly fled with his 12-year-old son.

Thompson told detectives that he shot Mitchem because he had a feeling that Mitchem had killed his son, though no dead child was found. He said he feared that Mitchem was going to kill him also, a detective wrote in the probably cause statement.

No attorney is listed for Thompson in online court records to comment on the allegations.

The shooting happened after Thompson approached a hotel desk clerk with his 12-year-old son and calmly told her another child was dead in his hotel room — something that was not true, according to police spokeswoman Capt. Leslie Foreman said. Thompson then asked for a spare room key, according to the probable cause statement.

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The clerk told Thompson the computer system was slow, so he sat down at the bar in the dining area. A waitress then observed Mitchem sit next to Thompson and his son.

A few minutes later, the child returned to the clerk and asked for a spare key. The clerk eventually handed Thompson a fake key card to try to diffuse the situation. Thompson and the child then walked toward the elevators, where she heard Thompson shout, “You think you are going to get away with killing my son?” followed by several gunshots, according to the probable cause statement.

Hotel video surveillance captured the shooting of Mitchem, followed by Thomson’s son running out of the hotel, with Thomason behind him, the detective wrote. Officers later tracked down Thompson and his son less than a mile away. Police found a handgun in the landscaped area nearby.

Thompson also is charged with armed criminal action, endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful possession of a firearm.

A search of the room where Thompson had been staying yielded three handguns with extended magazines, along with ammunition, three cellphones, narcotics and a scale. Thompson has a past felony drug conviction, court records show.