Sign In  |  Register  |  About Menlo Park  |  Contact Us

Menlo Park, CA
September 01, 2020 1:28pm
7-Day Forecast | Traffic
  • Search Hotels in Menlo Park

  • ROOMS:

Veteran details chasing down Kansas City Chiefs parade shooter, credits military training, 'guardian angels'

Lifelong Chiefs fan and Navy veteran Tony Janssens sprang into action when gunfire rang out at the parade, chasing down a shooter through the crowd.

A U.S. Navy veteran who jumped into action when gunfire erupted at the Kansas City Chiefs' parade Wednesday spoke to Fox News Digital, recounting how he identified and chased down some of the shooters – hopping over barriers and running through the crowd – until he shouted to other NFL fans there, who managed to tackle at least one of the attackers.

Tony Janssens, a lifelong Chiefs fan who's lived in Kansas City since the end of 2020, said he had extensive training during his time in the military on active shooting scenarios, including what to do in the event of a shooter at the pier or shooters breaching a naval ship. The veteran, who left the Navy in 2016, said instinct kicked in upon leaving the parade, walking through an intersection with others in the crowd, when suddenly three to four shots rang out. At first, some thought the sound was fireworks, but not Janssens. 

"It didn't sound like fireworks to me," he told Fox News Digital. "And then I heard another couple of rounds go off, and then that's when I dropped to the ground again. I looked over to my right where the shots were coming from, and I see a guy lying on the ground with a couple of bullet holes at his side, and he's already kind of lying down. I kind of understand the severity of the situation. So people are still deciding whether it's fireworks or, you know, what's going on. They're starting to pull up their phones just trying to record stuff. I'm telling everyone, people just to get away. Like, this is real life. You need to get out of here. Like, don't just sit here and try to record or anything. So I'm telling people to leave, leave, leave." 

Janssens, who attended the Chiefs parade last year with his girlfriend and a group of friends, said he went alone this year. His girlfriend had to work, and since he was off, he explained how he had decided to walk from where they live downtown to Union Station to enjoy the festivities. That decision, he now hopes in retrospect, helped prevent further bloodshed at the parade. 


"I wasn't expecting to try to go out and do anything heroic or anything like that and just kind of kicked on," he said. 

"I actually am Catholic," he added, referring to how the parade took place on Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. 

"I felt like I had a guardian angel there with me. I was literally ten feet from it," he said. "And if I probably would have walked, you know, 10 seconds faster, had ten steps ahead, I probably wouldn't be on this interview today. I just, I'm grateful to be here, you know? That's the biggest thing I can get away from is just gratitude. . . .  When I saw that everything starting to develop, that's what kicked into my head … just not wanting anyone else to get hurt. I want them to see tomorrow, you know, that type of thing. And it's something I really haven't really fully comprehended and come down to, just the fact that I'm still here. I'm lucky to be here, but like I said, I'm just grateful and glad I could help the best I could."

Authorities have said three people, including two juveniles, have been detained in connection with the shooting but no charges have been filed yet. 

Police said the 22 people who were wounded ranged between the ages of eight and 47 years old, half of whom were under the age of 16. A mother of two was also killed.

After the sounds of gunfire sent the crowd into a panic, Janssens said he took off running, but he accidentally bumped into the three suspects. 

One of them, Janssens explained, had his jaw almost completely shot off. "He's basically missing his jaw, and he's freaking out. He doesn't know what to do. And then his buddies are kind of scrambling. They're all like, don't know if they should keep running or help his buddy, since he's bleeding now. I ran into him, so I kind of backed away for a second," Janssens recalled. "I'm, like, back-pedaling. I'm looking at him, trying to understand what's going on. I didn't know if he was a victim, or I didn't know if he was part of the shooting." 

"I kept my eye on him, and he had a backpack on him, the guy who had been shot, and I saw him hand over a bag to the other two individuals that he was with. And I see them kind of run – trying to take off and try to escape. And they're running towards these two semi-trucks, and they get in between these two semi-trucks. It looks like there's stuffing stuff in the backpack," he said, recalling that one of them was wearing a Carhart jacket – something that didn't sit right with Janssens because the weather was warm at about 65 degrees. 

Keeping his eyes on them, Janssens spotted a state trooper, whom he tapped on the shoulder to point out the suspicious trio. 


"I run up, I tap him on the shoulder, I said, ‘Man, I think you need to follow me. I think these guys might be part of it. They just kind of look fishy,’" Janssens said. "So as we're walking up to him, I'm leading. I'm leading him to the guys. They notice that we're walking up to him, and they start backpedaling a little bit. He looks like he's kind of concealing something in his jacket. He's turning away, and as he turns away, he just bolts past me and the state trooper. And just instinctively, he runs after him. I just start running after him."

"The only reason I kind of really ran after him was just because I really kind of saw the whole thing develop. So I feel like I was one of the persons that could identify the man if he was trying to get away. I just didn't want him to get away, and I just didn't want to hurt anyone else," the veteran said. "So I took off . . . and I'm jumping barricades, we're running down the street, and I'm trying to clear people out the way. I'm yelling as I'm chasing after him, ‘Get this guy, get this guy.’ And then he jumps over one more barricade, and he realizes he can't go any further the way he's running. So he starts to run back towards me." 

Janssens said it was captured on video how he's shouting for others to tackle the suspected shooter. And four men jumped in, tackled the suspect and pinned him down until police arrived.

"I'm still here and grateful that they weren't able to do any harm or any other harm, and honestly grateful for the other guys that honestly stepped up when they didn't have to," he said. "You can see me like running up, and I'm pointing, yelling out ‘Tackle this guy! Tackle this guy!’ And I'm jumping up and down. And luckily, these four other guys heard me. And, they turn around and said they could hear me yelling to tackle this guy. And I saw him, and luckily they just stepped up and helped tackle him. As they were tackling him, I think I saw another guy was running away as well. So I kept chasing that guy and then it was just a dead pursuit. So I hurried back and helped these guys try to sustain the situation until cops arrived." 

Once the scene calmed down, and the suspects were in custody, Janssens said he and about 10 or 15 other witnesses went to a designated area to give statements to law enforcement. That's when he noticed a bag with an AR-style rifle and extended magazines, though he was not sure whether those were used in the shooting. 

Janssens said he would not let the shooting deter him from being able to celebrate with his team if they win the Super Bowl again next year, but he did urge officials to adopt better security measures. 

"I'm more than confident that Kansas City will come together, you know, try to get past and work together with everyone, get answers and just try to, you know, mitigate these things from happening again. I would love to see the, you know, the Chiefs win back-to-back-to-back Super Bowls and be back in that same spot next year. And you know, tell everyone not to live in fear when we're here. Now if they win it again next year, best believe I'm going to be in that Union Station parking lot if it's there again." 

"Kansas City is a great city. You know, people support each other here. I love the city. And it was just a mistake that happened. You know, these things happen. We're in 2024, you know, these are the things that you have to be more vigilant. Every day. You go to a grocery store, you go to a big venue, a large gathering. It's just something from the military that I understand, but I think as civilians, you should understand, too, that you have to be looking out for these things nowadays." 

Data & News supplied by
Stock quotes supplied by Barchart
Quotes delayed at least 20 minutes.
By accessing this page, you agree to the following
Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.
Copyright © 2010-2020 & California Media Partners, LLC. All rights reserved.