KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- A crowd of 100 people walked for peace at tonight’s First Friday to honor the life of Erin Langhofer who was shot and killed last month at the same event.
The tragedy led to big changes including no street closures, food trucks, or vendors on sidewalks inside the Crossroads Arts District.
Many people came out tonight to show that Erin was loved and to prove the city can overcome the senseless violence that happened at a Kansas City tradition that has drawn crowds for more than 20 years.
Members of the Healing House wanted to light up downtown Kansas City in honor of Langhofer.
“She was a light,” said Bobbi Jo Reed, Healing House Founder and Executive Director. “You can see by this beautiful smile. Priceless. A great lady lost her life.”
Before Langhofer was killed by a stranger who fired into a crowd at last month’s First Friday, she would go to Healing House with her dad who led Bible studies for those struggling with substance abuse.
“She loved us and we loved her,” Reed said. “Our shirts are really bright and the blessing of that is we cannot let people that are committing crimes take over and let the rest of us run in fear.”
Langhofer also left a lasting impact on her coworkers and clients at the Rose Brooks Center where she worked as a counselor and therapist.
“She gave them peace,” said Joan Dougherty, Director of Volunteers and Community Support at the Rose Brooks Center. “She helped them see that they could do it. She empowered them to know they could break the cycle of domestic violence.”
Langhofer’s loved ones want downtown Kansas City to be full of good times and a place where artists like Morgan Volker of Perilin Jewelry can share their creativity and passion.
“First Friday is going to keep being home to m,” Volker said.
“I think it’s important for the Kansas City community to back together to make sure there is somewhere these artists can be here,” said Rebecca Hamilton with Virgils Plant Shop.
Seeing so much joy back downtown was exactly what many of those who knew Langhofer needed on their first First Friday without her.
“It is really empowering,” said Dougherty. “It is saying, ‘Fear won’t win.’”
Galleries and restaurants were open on Friday, but visitors did not see any food or vendors on sidewalks and streets due to the loss of general liability insurance.
Many are hopeful those traditions will return to First Friday soon.