KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Friends, neighbors and relatives of a 14-year-old killed by an accidental gunshot this week gathered on Sunday to share their memories and grief, and to advocate for change in a culture of guns that many said has led to too many deaths.
Police say 14-year-old Montee Ross was accidentally shot and killed by his 12-year-old brother while playing with a neighbor’s gun. Other friends of the boys helped the younger Ross bury his brother in a shallow grave on a lot near their family’s home, where his body was found on Wednesday morning.
Tonight, Ross’s mother, Alicia Temple, along with a host of family members and friends held a tearful vigil on that same lot where Ross’s body was found and tried to find meaning in his death.
“Just please, please take heed to this message,” Temple said, clutching a microphone. “Do not, do not, do not ... play with guns. I don't care if they're laying around, do not play with them.”
Other speakers echoed her message of gun safety – including members of the group Mothers in Charge – who passed around a petition to restart federal gun-control legislation even tougher than that recently defeated in the U.S. Senate.
"We have to stop this in Kansas City,” Said Rosslyn Taylor, speaking for the group. “It's killing our city."
The vigil was organized in part by the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime, an anti-violence group whose executive director said he hoped the shocking nature of this shooting might help make the anti-gun and anti-violence message spoken at the vigil resonate.
"When you see a young, innocent life of a child who wasn't involved in the street life, wasn't selling drugs ... was promising, as the family spoke of -- a young entrepreneur -- I think that sinks in a little bit more than someone who is out here doing things that we know they shouldn't be doing," said Bryan Dial.
Others who spoke at the vigil focused on their memories of the victim, and of their grief at a life cut short.
“I just wish I hugged him more,” Ross’s older sister said, fighting to hold back tears.
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