Listen to hero describe his attempt to save police officer’s life

Westport partygoer Christopher Johnson describes the chaotic scene of the Aug. 20 shooting at Californos restaurant and his attempt to save the life of Lee’s Summit police Officer Thomas Orr.
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Westport partygoer Christopher Johnson describes the chaotic scene of the Aug. 20 shooting at Californos restaurant and his attempt to save the life of Lee’s Summit police Officer Thomas Orr.
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Crime

Prosecutors charge man in shooting death of Lee’s Summit police officer killed at Californos

By Glenn E. Rice, Aaron Randle And Toriano Porter

grice@kcstar.com

September 20, 2017 05:34 PM

Jackson County prosecutors have charged a 22-year-old man with second-degree murder in the Aug. 20 shooting death of Lee’s Summit police officer Thomas Alvin Orr III.

Sean D. Steward of Kansas City also faces armed criminal action charges in the Orr’s death.

Orr, 30, was off duty when he was fatally shot at a day party at Californos restaurant in Westport. Police said Orr, who also was a middle school resource officer, was not the intended target. He was an innocent bystander.

According to court records, a witness told investigators that they saw Steward fire a handgun and run down a flight of stairs and out of the bottom lower entrance of the restaurant.

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The shooting happened after one man struck another man in the face, causing him to fall to the floor. Steward allegedly fired into the crowd. Steward allegedly sped away in a dark-color Dodge Charger. Another witness told police that several people at the party told her that Steward fired the shots that killed Orr and struck the woman.

Police found on social media sites photos from the party with names that witnesses said were identified with Steward. The photos had the Facebook names of “Stew Bird and Cuzzo Jay,” according to court records.

The man who was hit before the gun was fired was assaulted from behind and did not see the shooter, court documents say.

Prosecutors have requested a bond of $500,000 cash.

Lee’s Summit Police Chief Travis Forbes said on Twitter: “I’m encouraged by news of charges related to Thomas Orr’s murder, but the investigation is not concluded. Witnesses are needed! I encourage witnesses to come forward to assure that justice is served for Thomas Orr and his family. Please help @kcpolice investigate.

“To successfully bring about the truth in court, as much as evidence as possible is needed. Great progress has been made, help take it further,” Forbes wrote.

Police said there were more than 200 people at the party but only three had stepped forward to speak to investigators right after the shooting.

Orr had been with the Lee’s Summit Police Department since March 2015 and began assignment as a middle school resource officer on Aug. 14. Before that, he had worked for the Marshall, Mo., Police Department.

Police at first said the victim was shot after arguing with another man. However, further investigation revealed that Orr was an innocent bystander who was not involved in the disturbance.

Witnesses said that Orr took photographs at the party.

No other details were released regarding the arrest made on Wednesday.

Orr was at Californos on Aug. 20 for a monthly “Recovery Sundays” party among black millennials, which started modestly in May and grew to hundreds as the summer went on.

Glenn E. Rice: 816-234-4341, @GRicekcstar