Police: KC mall shooter had a plan to 'cause havoc'

Tuesday, May 1, 2007
David Logsdon

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A former Target employee who was turned down for a private security license and planned to "cause havoc" was identified Monday as the man suspected of killing two people in a crowded mall parking lot Sunday before he was shot by police inside the mall.

David W. Logsdon, 51, was stopped by police while driving the car of his next-door neighbor, Patricia Ann Reed, 67, who police also found dead in her home earlier Sunday. Police did not say how Reed died or if Logsdon was a suspect in her death. But they believed the events were connected.

"David Logsdon had a plan," police chief James Corwin said. "And that plan was that he had been an employee of that Target store and had been turned down for a private security license. His objective was to go to the mall and cause havoc."

Less than two hours after finding Reed's body, an officer stopped Logsdon at a convenience store after seeing him driving the woman's car. Logsdon and the officer exchanged fire, and both were wounded. During the melee, the officer managed to take two firearms away from Logsdon before he sped off. Logsdon eventually made it to the mall, where he began shooting.

"The summation of this is that David Logsdon had a plan," Corwin said. "The police officer at the convenience store started to stop that plan, and the officer at the mall stopped something that could have been very, very bad."

Kansas City, Mo., police chief Jim Corwin briefed members of the media at police headquarters, Monday. Corwin displayed several charts and timelines, outlining the chain of events that apparently led to a mall shooting that left three dead, including the suspected gunman, David W. Logsdon. Logsdon allegedly killed his neighbor before going on his shooting spree. (DICK WHIPPLE ~ Associated Press)

Corwin said the officer at the convenience store was shot in the arm, but the wounds were not life-threatening.

"That particular officer saved lives," Corwin said.

Another officer responding to shots fired at the Ward Parkway Center shot and killed Logsdon after seven others had been wounded, including one who remain hospitalized Monday.

The officers' names were not being released Monday. But Corwin said the one at the convenience store was 45 years old and a 15-year veteran of the department. The 35-year-old officer at the mall has been with the department 10 years.

Police said Logsdon had applied to the police department to be certified as a security guard but he had two outstanding city warrants and was denied.

Logsdon's sister, Kathryn Cagg, said Logsdon had a mental illness and was also an alcoholic. She said the family had taken him for treatment when they were concerned that he would commit suicide. He was released from the treatment after six hours, she said.

"My heart is heavy with grief and great pain," Cagg said.

She also apologized to the victims' families but did not take questions.

"When a tragedy like this occurs, we want to understand the reasons. There is no way to understand this senseless act and so we must, we must turn it over to God," Cagg said.

The victims shot to death at the shopping center were Leslie N. Ballew, 33, of Kansas City, and Luke A. Nilges, 30, of Shawnee, Kan.

Corwin said it appeared Ballew and Nilges were random victims and did not know Logsdon.

Police had cordoned off the block in front of Logsdon and Reeds' houses while the bomb crew worked.

Denelle Brown, 41, who lives on the same block as Logsdon and Reed, said she knew Logsdon's family and that she was very close to his mother, Cora Logsdon.

"When I had problems growing up as a child, his family took me in." But she said David Logsdon was "different."

"He was a unique individual," Brown said. "He was into scientific things. He was into UFOs and all different kinds of scientific things. ... He was a nice guy. He was always a little bit strange."

James Williams, who lives across the street from the homes, said he had seen Reed in her front yard recently.

"The last time I saw her she was outside to let her flag down low for the Virginia Tech shootings," said Williams, 47.

The Target store was closed Monday. Target said in a press release that it "expressed its deepest sympathies to the families of those affected by yesterday's tragic situation at the Ward Parkway Mall."

The company said Logsdon was a former "team member" at the Ward Parkway Target store and that "he left on his own accord" in November 2006. The company said it would not provide any other details about his employment.

Corwin said bomb squad crews were also called to Logsdon's home Monday after police reported his house had been "booby-trapped with a self-made bomb." But police later said the device was "a propane tank with boxes surrounding it" and was harmless.

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