As 10-year-old Ka'Vyea Curry lay bleeding near his dead father, police officers desperately tried to comfort him while waiting for paramedics to arrive.
A bullet was wedged perilously close to his spine and he was scared.
"There were officers keeping him company and keeping him distracted from his pain and the trauma," Detective Alane Booth said. "He said some pretty upsetting things to the officers and they were touched by it. He made the comment, 'Is this what it feels like to die?' It was very difficult for the officers to keep talking to him. They said, 'You are going to be fine. Hang in there.'"
The upset officers tried to focus on more positive memories, asking him about his favorite Chiefs player. The boy quickly and emphatically made clear that he wasn't a sports fan and that he was much more interested in reading books.
"This is really a very special kid," Booth said. "It's been a joy to meet the family and visit the family and let them know we're behind him."
K.C. Curry, 34, had driven to a gas station in the 4500 block of Cleveland Avenue to get gas, and snacks for his young son and a 5year-old boy.
Prosecutors say Dontae D. Jefferson, 27, calmly walked up to the car and fired eight bullets. Curry died from a gunshot wound to the head while his son suffered life-threatening injuries. The 5-year-old boy was not physically hurt but is undergoing counseling after seeing such traumatic events.
Jefferson made his first court appearance on Friday morning.
Jefferson is charged with first-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action, child endangerment, unlawful possession of a firearm and shooting at a person.
A judge set bond at $500,000, and Jefferson said he would try to make bond. However, he did ask for a public defender to be appointed for him, saying he couldn't afford one.
Even if he were to make bond, Missouri correctional officials are seeking his return to prison for violating parole on a 2004 conviction. He was released from prison in August.
While witnesses have provided valuable information, Booth said there are other witnesses that police need to speak with.
"It was very alarming to actually see on the (surveillance) video that there was someone who actually pulled up and actually looked in the window of the car and then got in their car and drove off," she said. "That's disheartening to us. Those people for whatever reason at that moment may have some regret about not stepping forward at that time. Let's come out now and help us seal the deal on this case. The more people we get on board with keeping this person held accountable the better it's going to be in the long run."
Booth and fellow Detective Robert Guffey have made several trips to Children's Mercy Hospital to talk to the injured boy and his family. After learning that he would rather have a book on the U.S. presidents than a visit by a Chiefs player, the detectives went to Barnes and Noble where the staff gift wrapped a book for him purchased by the detectives.
Ka'Vyea Curry was groggy from all the medications, but he gave the detectives a faint thumbs up when they were standing at his hospital bed and presenting him the book.
"As soon as he saw the cover of the book, his eyes got big as pie plates and that was a really neat feeling," Booth recalled.
She said detectives have exhaled and are breathing a sigh of relief that charges have been filed.
KCTV5's Eric Chaloux contributed to this report.
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