By Justin Schmidt, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
Neighbors are talking about a shooting on their block that left one person dead, another critically injured, and two more with minor injuries.
Friends of the victims said they were all students at University of Missouri - Kansas City and they can't believe something like this happened in such a high traffic, and seemingly safe, area.
According to police, two men entered a house near 49th Street and Brookside Boulevard in the South Plaza neighborhood about 11 p.m. Thursday and opened fire on four people inside, killing one man. The man was later identified as 23-year-old Aaron Markarian of Warrensburg, MO.
One woman used to live at the home and knows the victims.
"They're students and I haven't heard from any of them and I'm just looking for information," said Grace, who wished to only use her first name.
Matt Noonan, who lives right next door, said he didn't hear or see the shooters, but said one of the residents from the house knocked on his door right after the shooting happened about 11:30 p.m.
"He had already left to go to a car and flag someone down to call 911," Noonan said.
UMKC released the following statement after finding out one of their students was killed.
"We were saddened to learn of the death of Aaron Markarian, a bright and talented young man who was studying at our Conservatory of Music and Dance. We offer our condolences to his family and friends. Police are withholding the names of others involved in the home invasion and robbery that claimed Aaron's life, in order to protect their safety, and we respect that decision. We are distressed by all acts of violence that affect our Kansas City community, and by any act of violence that affects our students."
Those who knew the young man spoke out about him and his talent.
"Friday and Sunday he gave the performance of his life at the Opera at the Conservatory," said Dale Morehouse, associate professor of music at UMKC.
Markarian was a performer. Pictures show the young man on stage, a senior at the Conservatory of Music and Dance.
"He was everything one could hope for in a Conservatory or UMKC student. He was filled with talent and imagination and creativity and motivation and kindness and charisma," Morehouse said.
The professor, who taught Markarian for two years, said when he heard about the home invasion Thursday night and Markarian's murder, he was in shock.
"It was hard for any of us to believe it was true. Such a positive guy and a force, none of us could imagine it had happened," he said.
Morehouse said Markarian had a bright future fueled by a tenacious work ethic.
"I remember his first semester he was working two jobs as well as school full time and he was cast in two simultaneous productions at the Conservatory. He did it without flinching, without complaint," Morehouse said.
Now the teacher said the entire conservatory is searching for a way to pay tribute.
"He brought out the best of people around him, made the work light, while still being serious about it," Morehouse said.
Neighbors describe the victims as friendly and nice and said they had a lot of visitors. Some residents didn't take kindly to that according to Taylor Hirlinger, who lives in an apartment complex next door.
"They had a lot of parties and bonfires and stuff, which had caused issues with people who live in my complex," Hirlinger said.
And as police work to figure out who is behind the deadly shooting, neighbors are divided over whether they'll stay in the area.
"I don't (feel safe). My parents are very uneasy about me living here, they always have been, but especially now," Hirlinger said.
"I still feel safe here. It's just scary when it's that close to home," Noonan said.
Police have a vague description of the shooters, but there's not a lot to go on. As for the victims, one man is in critical condition and two women suffered injuries that were not life-threatening.
Police are asking for help in finding the shooters. Call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS if you have any information.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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