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Others left the names of two men — and an address — whom they claimed were the real shooters.
"Everyone wants justice then they need to find out where this EX-Cop is and turn him in, my cousin did not shoot himself he was in fact shot first and if he did fire back it was only in self-defense," someone wrote under the name "Big V's Cuz."
Others defended the men to whom Big V's Cuz had referred and threatened Muzquiz.
After this went on for about 40 posts, detective Matt "Buck" Williams of the Kansas City Police Department chimed in.
"Come talk to me," Williams wrote. "No one is beating down my door to tell me what they observed. ... Feel free to come talk to me. This is an on-going investigation and it takes time to talk to everyone. It is even harder to get to the truth when people would rather talk anonymously on a forum than stepping up and doing the right thing for an innocent person who got caught in the middle of a senseless gunfight." (Williams didn't return a call from The Pitch in December.)
Williams' plea for information didn't change the tone of the discussion. The posts only grew more threatening.
Eventually, commenters turned against The Pitch for allowing it to go on. In the office, we debated our role and responsibilities. On the one hand, our job is to tell the truth, even when it's ugly — and these commenters were now telling their own stories. (Some accused us of getting a kick out of it, but no one here was laughing.) On the other hand, the thread was deteriorating into spamlike posts that focused on us rather than on the story. After three days, we disabled the feedback feature — no one else can comment, but the 188 posts are still visible for everyone to see.
We've come to believe that, as hard as they sometimes are to read, the comments often reveal information we could probably never get through standard reporting.
They're as much a part of the story as the grief displayed by loved ones in the YouTube video of Andre Jones' funeral.
"Andre Jones is my bigg brother my hero my love," an anonymous poster wrote on July 13. "I am so so happy they caught that monster!!!! thanks for keeping up with the story My mom and I haved moved from killa city and we are glad we can keep up with everything on line...thanks Ebony Jones."
Here's a pessimistic prediction for 2010: The bloodshed won't stop. It's part of our city's DNA.
Candlelight vigils, marches and political talk about inner-city economic development have the best intentions. But in the five years that I've lived here, the result is always the same. How do you stop random bullets from cutting down a mother who's driving her daughter home from a play or a woman waiting for the bus? How do you convince a person that it's wrong to kill someone for $20 or $500?
When 2010 ends, we'll count the hundred or so murders again and wonder why no one learned anything from 2009.