OLATHE, KS (KCTV) – According to family, the young teen who was killed in Olathe on Thursday morning was named Zavier Mendoza.
Police have also arrested another teen in connection with the shooting that happened in the 12500 block of S. Constance St. in Olathe.
On Thursday evening, it was very quiet in the neighborhood where the incident took place.
Mendoza was just 14 years old. The suspect taken into custody on Thursday is also 14. Police said the two knew each other.
KCTV5 spoke exclusively with Mendoza’s family on Thursday.
This summer, Mendoza was anxiously waiting to attend school at Olathe East High School. One of his biggest goals was trying to make it onto the school’s football team.
“He wasn’t a gang banger,” said TaNeisha Wish, his aunt. “He wasn’t a troublemaker. He played sports in school; football. He loved that, and he loved his family.”
Now, the 14-year-old’s dreams, hard work, and life have been taken away from him.
“That’s what the sad thing is,” Wish said. “His mother is devastated because she is like, she’s sitting there going, ‘Why wasn’t it me?’ She wants to put herself in his place. He had plans.”
It is a tough situation that the entire family is now trying to recover from,
“It’s just heartbreaking,” Wish said. “It’s devastating. No parent should have to bury their 14-year-old.”
Although there’s been an arrest in the case, the family said the only thing that will truly help them is if somehow the nonstop violence can come to an end,
“There’s a lot of hurt children running around and kids that are lost and that has to be the root of so many of these senseless things that are happening,” Wish said. “That means we have to step up, because that’s the only way to any of these things. Because it’s starting to be the norm, and that is really sad to say in 2019.”
The family said one thing they will truly miss is Mendoza’s beautiful smile.
People living on the area were awakened by all the police activity overnight.
“I woke up, drove around, and all of a sudden I saw yellow tape,” one of them said. “It was very interesting because it’s a very quiet neighborhood.”
Police said that they found Mendoza’s body around 2:17 a.m.
For Jennifer Gonzalez, a neighbor and the mother of a 1-year-old, the news is startling,
“Especially with his birthday today, it is kind of hard,” she said. “I’m going to pay my respects soon, but it makes me feel a little unsafe, especially late at night. That could have happened to anyone. Could have been a break in or anything.”
“It’s one of those situations where now we have two families of very young people who are having a tough time, so we definitely recognize that and want to be there to support them as much as we can,” said Sgt. Joel Yeldell with the Olathe Police Department.