Advocates offer support to growing number of Kansas City homicide victims’ families

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 6:49 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - During the last four days in Kansas City, seven people have been killed. That includes three people who were shot at a nightclub.

The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department identified the victims who died following a Sunday shooting at Klymax Lounge as 41-year-old Jason McConnell, 33-year-old Clarence Henderson and 25-year-old Antoinette Brenson.

On Tuesday, a separate shooting killed 16-year-old Zechariah Washington. He was shot in an apartment complex parking lot near 82nd Place and Forest Avenue.

Advocates say that, no matter a homicide victim’s age, the loss of life is tragic. For members of KC Mothers in Charge, it’s heartbreaking when they arrive at a homicide scene and learn a child or teenager was killed.

“Just still a child, a teen,” said Rosilyn Temple, Founder of and Program Director for KC Mothers in Charge. “These last few weeks, the violence has really started again in Kansas City. We have seen this over and over in years prior.”

For 10 years, Temple has tried to offer support and resources to grieving families. Her son was killed in Kansas City in 2011. Now, she has spoken with Zechariah Washington’s mother.

“My heart goes out to her,” Temple said. “I understand that pain of a mom losing a child. Losing a child that has been murdered by someone else, it’s an indescribable pain.”

A Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) bus that was out of service at the time of the teen’s homicide was hit by gunfire. The bus driver was not injured.

“Thank God that bus was not full of people,” Temple said. “Thank God the driver was not harmed.”

According to Temple, advocates have tried for years to stop the cycle of violence in Kansas City. She worries this year’s homicide rate is on pace to surpass last year. In 2022, 169 people were killed in Kansas City, Missouri.

“Until we come together as a community and address our violence, address our problems with each other, nothing is going to change,” Temple said.

Anyone with any information about a Kansas City homicide is asked to anonymously call the Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS. There is up to a $25,000 reward for anonymous information that leads to an arrest in any Kansas City, Missouri, homicide investigation.