Tracy McKee

A Kansas City man experiencing homelessness has been charged in the Feb. 25, 2023, fatal stabbing of James Perry inside a homeless camp near 1st Street in Kansas City, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced Wednesday.

Tracy E. McKee, 58, faces Murder 2nd Degree and Armed Criminal Action charges.

According to court records, detectives from the Kansas City Police Department were dispatched to a homeless encampment on East First Street in Kansas City around 1 p.m. Officers located a deceased male, later identified as Perry, inside a ramshackle lean-to on the property of 1040 East 1st Street, surrounded by an apparent homeless encampment. The victim had lacerations to his arms, legs and head. He was declared deceased by emergency responders. Witnesses told police that the defendant was hacking the victim with a type of sword or machete.

The original call for service occurred after a homeless man walked into the address and requested medical assistance for his friend at a camp nearby.

Officers contacted a witness, a homeless man, who walked into 1010 East 1st Street and requested the call for service. He stated that he had not heard from his friend Perry for a few days, but he was contacted by a homeless female he was familiar with who requested he check on him. The witness responded to Perry’s tent where he located him with apparent blood on his body. He contacted the occupants of 1010 East 1st Street and requested they contact KCPD and EMS to check on Perry.

The female witness told detectives that she was inside Perry’s tent on February 24 with him sometime during the morning. McKee entered the tent with a male named Antonio. Mckee began hacking Perry with a “dagger-sword” while Perry was sitting down with his shirt off. She fled out of tent and away from the area during the assault.

Emergency responders had two days earlier been dispatched to the same area and treated the defendant suffering from an injury and hallucinating.

McKee was arrested on February 28. He admitted to knowing Perry but denied having any involvement in the murder and denied any specific knowledge of it. After a short time during the interview, McKee requested an attorney and the interview was immediately ceased.

A blue cellphone was located on McKee when he was arrested. A warrant has been applied for to search the phone for evidence but the results of that warrant are still pending.