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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 1, 2018

Blue Springs Man Charged with Illegally Possessing Firearm at Elementary School

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Timothy A. Garrison, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Blue Springs, Mo., man was charged in federal court today with illegally possessing a firearm he carried into an elementary school building.

Shaunee Burkhart, 33, of Blue Springs, was charged in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo. Burkhart remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing on Tuesday, March 6, 2018.

Today’s federal criminal complaint charges Burkhart with one count of being a drug user in possession of a firearm and one count of possessing a firearm in a school zone.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, a secretary at James Walker Elementary School in Blue Springs contacted the Blue Springs School District Department of Public Safety to report a suspicious person on Wednesday morning, Feb. 28, 2018. The secretary reported that Burkhart, a parent of students at the school, entered the school at approximately 10:08 a.m. 

Burkhart used one of the school’s telephones to contact someone to request a ride. While on the phone, the secretary told officers, Burkhart appeared to be recording himself with an electronic tablet. When Burkhart completed the call, he left the school building and sat on a bench outside of the front entrance. The secretary told officers she felt uncomfortable and nervous about Burkhart hanging around the school. Burkhart was acting in a way that the secretary believed was strange and out of the ordinary.

When officers responded to the school, they saw Burkhart walking from the front door. Burkhart appeared to be smoking something, the affidavit says, and an officer smelled the odor of marijuana. As the officers approached, Burkhart sped up the pace of his walk, crossed the street and went behind some trees.

When the officers contacted Burkhart, the affidavit says, he acted nervous and jittery. An officer saw a loaded Taurus 9mm semi-automatic pistol in Burkhart’s rear waistband. The pistol was removed by the officer. In addition, the affidavit says, a red package of cigarettes in Burkhart’s front left pants pocket contained a marijuana cigarette.

Moments into the officers’ contact with Burkhart, his sister arrived in an SUV and joined Burkhart and the officers. Refusing direction to get back into her vehicle, she began hugging Burkhart. According to the affidavit, the officer saw her take something from Burkhart’s front left breast pocket and attempt to conceal it by putting into her shirt or bra. Officers retrieved the item, a cigarette package that contained Burkhart’s Colorado state identification card and two yellow Ziploc baggies of methamphetamine.

Burkhart unsuccessfully tried to flee as an officer took Burkhart to a patrol vehicle in handcuffs. According to the affidavit, the officer believed that Burkhart was under the influence of some type of drug.

When the Blue Springs Police Department took custody of Burkhart, an officer observed that he seemed disoriented and his speech was slurred. Burkhart had little to no recollection of his contact with the officers. A glass pipe containing methamphetamine residue was located in Burkhart’s backpack.

Burkhart told investigators he has been smoking marijuana two to three times per week for the last five years. Burkhart also said he has used methamphetamine numerous times in the last month, including the night prior to his arrest, and had taken Vicodin earlier that morning, which he purchased from a street dealer.

Garrison cautioned that the charges contained in this complaint are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence. 

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Raskin. It was investigated by the Blue Springs, Mo., Police Department, the Blue Springs School District Department of Public Safety and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
 

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Updated March 5, 2018