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Archive for Friday, February 27, 2004

Authorities identify first of 2 bodies found in burned-out K.C. house

February 27, 2004

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— Police on Thursday said a set of human remains found in the rubble of a burned-out home were those of a man who lived there.

A second set of remains was still unidentified, three days after an incident in which a paramedic was shot while responding to a fire at a vacant house.

Neighbors said Donin E. Wright, 62, whose body was identified Thursday, lived in a home across the street that also burned.

While the cause of death was not immediately known because Wright's body was burned beyond recognition, police said they were able to identify him by the titanium plate in his wrist.

Neighbors have said that Wright's girlfriend, Janet Clark, lived with him in the home that exploded, and that Wright also owned the vacant home.

Police initially described Wright as a "person of interest," but called off a search for him on Tuesday, the same day that animal and human remains were found in the rubble. Friends of Clark said they have been unable to contact her since Monday afternoon.

While authorities await DNA evidence, they said they would continue to search for Clark.

Responding to the explosion and fire at the first house on Monday afternoon, paramedics, firefighters and police officers came under gunfire shortly after they arrived at the scene. The gunfire came from the direction of the house across the street, which later exploded.

Police would not say Thursday whether they believed Wright was the shooter.

Officer Stephen Stroder called the scene "total chaos."

He said multiple rounds were being fired, but it was unclear where the shots were coming from.

Stroder said he and other officers made their way toward the home and formed a perimeter. Shortly after, propane tanks inside the house blew up, followed by another large explosion that knocked him to the ground.

Stroder said he could not comment on the shooter's description, or whether the shooter went inside, because the investigation was ongoing.

Police said they recovered about 20 guns in various conditions, parts of at least 20 pipe bombs, and thousands of rounds of live and discharged ammunition.

Authorities said the rifles and handguns discovered at the scene ranged in size from .22 to .50 caliber.

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