A quick update on the event itself: it appears that there was substantial planning, especially on the part of students from two high schools, Westport and Raytown South, but other schools may also be involved. The participants were almost all under 18. Here is a comment, from the KSHB site, of a witness/victim:
I was there that night from 7:30 to 10:30 and it was ridiculous. It started out alright our group of girls having a blast laughing, taking pictures and shopping everything that the plaza is about. Having all the teens around was very annoying, many were rude, obnoxious, even cat calling but we turned the other cheek and kept walking. Until around 9:30 we were by the big fountain posing for a pic when a large group of guys comes running up behind us and a child probably 12 charges us tackling one of my friends in to the nasty fountain water(phone, and purse in hand)and what happens he merely gets cheer from his group and they race off towards the plaza. Once we were sure she was okay, we made our way to the police. As we got closer we find that pure chaos has erupted- fights, purse snatching, running in the streets. The police were doing the best they could but the second they stopped the problem children on one end of the plaza it would start up on the other end. After talking to the police we no longer wanted to stay in the plaza fearing for our safety. But trying to leave was easier said than done- for with all the flocks of kids and traffic jams. At one point I was in the left turn lane at a light and as I am about to turn, hundreds of kids are stampeding around my car and all thru the street they are lucky that no one was hit. In our car all of us were hacking and coughing from the pepper spray. It was a horrific night that we will not soon forget. I just hope that the situation is taken care of and this can be stopped because I don’t know if I will be returning to the plaza till it is.
Another eyewitness chimes in, from yesterdays Kansas City Star article:
Here is a terrific series of comments from the Kansas City Star's news article today.