Talk about burying a lead–the Kansas City Star goes an incredible twenty paragraphs into its story on a man’s murderous Northland shooting spree before acknowledging, “[Arnoldo] is an undocumented immigrant and had entered illegally on four occasions, according to court documents.”
The Star headlined the story, “Man charged in Northland shootings said ‘voices’ told him to shoot.” This was the sixteenth story listed on the Star’s news page. The fifteenth was headlined, “Man guilty of shooting spree that killed cows in Leavenworth County.”
The Star was not alone in burying the natural lead. Here are some others:
Fox 4 News: “Man charged in Northland shootings says ‘voices’ told him who to shoot.” The man’s illegal status is revealed in the twelfth paragraph.
KMBZ: “Suspect in custody in KC Northland murder of tattoo artist, two other shootings.” The man’s illegal status is revealed in the tenth paragraph.
KSHB and KMBC each did a better job putting the “illegal” angle right up front. The KSHB story begins, “A man in the United States illegally is facing several charges in connection to a crime spree across Kansas City last week.”
This lead makes sense. To lead otherwise is borderline malpractice especially given the national debate raging over President Trump’s comments about the Salvadoran gang, MS-13. KCUR, the local NPR station, apparently did not find the story newsworthy. In a balanced media environment, it should be national news.
The illegal angle is not the only story line the Star and other media suppressed. As Fox 4 News reported, “Then on Tuesday, three days after the shooting spree, a homeowner on 150 Highway near Peterson Road caught Pompa-Rascon trying to steal his truck, court documents say. The homeowner held Pompa-Rascon at gunpoint until police arrived.”
Here is how the Star reported the arrest: “Pompa-Rascon was arrested Tuesday morning after wrecking a silver Dodge Neon in the area of 101st Street and Missouri 150, according to court records.” There is no mention of the homeowner and his gun, another inconvenient narrative deleted.