Death of Kansas City Businessman Ruled a Justifiable Shooting

by Tommy Grant

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In an unusual Castle Doctrine case that publicly has more questions than answers and has the family of an unlikely attacker even scratching their heads and demanding answers, the Jackson County, Missouri, prosecutor has declined to file charges against a man who shot 46-year-old business owner John Bartrom, the founder of Jericho Home Improvements. Jericho Home Improvements touts itself as the Kansas City area’s and, in fact, nation’s largest independent kitchen and bath remodeling company, also specializing in building single-family homes. Bartrom, a recognizable figure in the community due to his frequent appearances in the company’s commercials, met a tragic end on Jan. 7.

Here’s what is known and what is “not” known about the incident:

What is Known

The Incident: John Bartrom was shot and killed shortly after midnight on January 7, 2024, near East 63rd Street and Prospect Avenue in a business parking lot. The Jackson County Prosecutor, Jean Peters Baker, announced that the shooting was in self-defense and that no charges would be filed against the shooter. The decision was made after evidence indicated that Bartrom struggled with the shooter and attempted to pull him from his vehicle. (Yahoo News, KMBC TV, KCTV 5, 41 KSHB)

Bartrom’s Background: Bartrom was the owner of Jericho Home Improvements, a well-known home remodeling company in Kansas City. He founded the company in 2009, emphasizing employee care and community charity involvement. Bartrom was not only recognized for his business achievements but also for his philanthropic efforts, including work with The Global Orphan Project, Living Water International, and Habitat for Humanity. (Yahoo News)

The Investigation: The Kansas City Police Department took one person of interest into custody shortly after the incident. The investigation remains ongoing, with the prosecutor’s office and police working together to understand the circumstances leading to the shooting. Despite the conclusion of self-defense, the case has left the community and Bartrom’s family seeking more answers. (Yahoo News, KMBC TV)

What is Not Known

The Circumstances Leading to the Confrontation: The specific details of what led to the fatal struggle between Bartrom and the shooter remain unclear. The relationship between Bartrom and the shooter, if any, has not been disclosed. Nor has there been any clarification on what prompted the violence that night. (41 KSHB)

Evidence and Witness Accounts: The family has expressed a desire to see video evidence and other material supporting the claim of self-defense. According to Nora Schwartz, Bartrom’s sister, the family has been given limited information and has not seen evidence that corroborates the shooter’s account of the events. (41 KSHB)

The Legal Justification: The use of the Castle Doctrine and the determination of self-defense as the reason for not filing charges have been cited, but the complete application of these legal principles to the specifics of the case has not been fully explained to the public or Bartrom’s family. The statement from the prosecutor’s office suggests reliance on the shooter’s account due to the absence of contradicting evidence, yet the family contends that the decision was made without a thorough examination of all available evidence. (41 KSHB)

The death of such an unlikely suspect in a violent attack and one with such a visible “every day Joe” lifestyle has left a community in mourning and a family in search of answers. Those close to Bartrom hope for more clarity and understanding of the tragic events that led to the loss of a prominent businessman and community figure.

 

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