KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) - Classmate and next-door neighbor Adivion Collins would have entered the fourth-grade at Center Elementary School with 8-year-old Brian Bartlett on Wednesday.

“Right here. Brian Bartlett. Best friend ever,” said Collins as he pointed to a class picture.

Monday, the young friend shares the same emotion as many.

“Sad,” said Collins.

Collins said him and Bartlett would work together in class, and sit together at lunch.

The news of his friend’s death was difficult to take.

“I cried on my pillow,” Collins said.

The 8-year-olds death comes right at the beginning of the school year.

According to the Director of Family and Student Services for Center School District Stacy King, the death of Bartlett is a hard pill to swallow.

“It’s taken the breath of collectively the entire Center Elementary community as well as the district just because of the extreme loss of potential,” King said.

She said those who knew Bartlett at school say he had an infectious smile, and a kind personality.

“He was a member of Center Elementary Robotics Team, which means he was a great thinker and problem solver,” King said.

King said the district is working to balance the excitement over the start of the school year, along with this terrible tragedy, something they’re making top priority by bringing in counselors for both students and staff.

For Collins, the young friend reminisces over what he’ll miss the most.

“His funniness, his jokes, friendship, just him being my friend,” Collins said.

Bartlett’s mother was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the leg and is expected to survive.

The 8-year-old is the youngest homicide victim in Kansas City this year.

He is one of at least five people under the age of 16 killed this year in the city.

Police said that there is a $25,000 reward for anonymous information leading to an arrest in a Kansas City, Missouri homicide through the greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline.

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