Kansas City police say Steven Wright Jr. was the worst gangster in recent memory. This summer, his bloody legacy is flowing in the streets.

When Moody Ruled 

Kansas City police say Steven Wright Jr. was the worst gangster in recent memory. This summer, his bloody legacy is flowing in the streets.

Page 5 of 10

By all accounts, Wright had an instinct and leadership style more common to gangsters in Los Angeles.

His gang was infamous by the end of the 1990s, but Moody established his own legacy during the brutal year between June 2000 and June 2001. He has been charged with shooting ten people and murdering three others over those 12 months.

The blitz began on June 13, 2000, when Wright allegedly sped through the intersection of 33rd Street and Chestnut Avenue and opened fire on Alex Clark and a friend named Roland Jordan. (Both men lived.) Just past midnight less than 36 hours later, detectives say, Wright went to 51st Street and College Avenue to buy cocaine from a man named Hector Santos. The two had done business before, but this time, as Santos rode away on his bicycle, reports say, Wright mowed him down with an assault rifle to steal 500 grams, or half a kilo, of cocaine.

A month later, detectives went to Wright's house to serve him with a warrant on a drug charge. They found him hiding in a bedroom, his house stocked with weapons. A ballistics test showed that one of the handguns in the house had been used to shoot Alex Clark and Roland Jordan. Wright posted bond on the drug charges. The following week, on July 18, Alex Clark's cousin, Tommy "Gun" Simmons, was shot in another drive-by; again, police concluded that the shooter had been Moody.

Things were just as dangerous for Moody's crew. All but one who ran with him ended up dead or in prison.

Police say Wright laid low until February 2001, when he plotted with Rashawn Long to silence two members of their own gang, who they feared had turned against them.

At 2:30 a.m. on February 1, 2001, police reports say, Wright, Long and fellow gang members Michael Birks, 24, and William Williams, 20, conspired to rob an acquaintance they believed would be carrying $10,000 in cash. Birks called the man and asked to meet at the corner of 30th Street and Benton.

Wright and Long drove in one car, Birks and Williams in another.

While they waited for the man to arrive, Wright and Long grew impatient and drove away. Birks and Williams stayed, and soon Birks' acquaintance drove up with a passenger.

As Birks stepped out of his car, Williams opened fire on the other men, wounding them both. Birks went through his acquaintance's pants looking for the money. Then he surprised Williams by getting into the victims' car and driving one passenger to a home in the 3000 block of Montgall Avenue and the other to Research Medical Center. (Both men survived.)

Fearing Birks might have spoken to police, Wright, Long and Williams decided to kill him.

According to police, Birks met his gang brothers outside an apartment and told them that the stolen goods were hidden inside. After breaking into the apartment, the four boldly returned to 30th and Chestnut, a block from where Williams had shot the men two hours before. When they arrived at the Third Wall corner, Birks got out of the car to score some PCP for the group.

As he returned with the drugs, Williams opened fire again, shooting Birks repeatedly. (Williams is serving a 12-year sentence at Crossroads Correctional Center for his role in the killing.) After Birks fell, police investigators later reported, "Long produced a different 9 mm handgun, pointed it at Birks' head and fired one shot."

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