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Families, victims of historic KCMO violence share their experiences

Chieyenne Wallis
Posted at 3:48 PM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-17 18:17:19-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the Kansas City metro continues to see a historic year in violence, the families of a homicide victim and a robbery victim gathered with Kansas City police to share their experiences on Monday.

The parents of Chieyenne Wallis shared how their daughter’s death has changed their lives.

“When Chieyenne walked into the room, everybody knew that Chieyenne was in the room. Chieyenne lit the whole room up with her smile,” Chieyenne’s mother, Chantell Wallis, said.

Wallis, 21, was killed on July 24, according to KCPD spokesman Sgt. Jake Becchina. Michael Skinner was charged with first-degree murder in connection with her death.

KCPD did not say when Skinner was arrested.

“He dimmed our light when he did that,” Chantell Wallis said.

Chieyenne’s mother revealed she left two children behind.

“One every time she hears the door knock, she thinks it’s her mother. I have to explain to her that her mom is sleeping; she’s asking when my mom is going to wake up,” Chantell Wallis said.

Wallis said that her family is still overcome with grief.

"We don't know what makes people do the things that they do. But, something somewhere has to click," said Wallis.

This case was investigated under Operation LeGend, according to Becchina.

"I am thankful for whoever spoke up. I am thankful for everything. I am wishing for all the families that haven't had the closure, I am wishing they had this," said Chantell Wallis.

In an article released by the FBI on Friday, more than 200 people have been taken into custody within the first 30 days of Operation Legend. Those crimes ranged from homicide to drug trafficking.

KCPD said having this extra help is changing the city for the better.

"It's almost as if there are additional detectives that are kind of on those scenes, bringing their investigative experience to help our detectives," said Sgt. Jacob Becchina with KCPD.

For Wallis' mother, she is praying the violence stops.

"Kansas City, we have to do better. Who doesn't know what conflict resolution is one of the ways stay away. That is one of the steps right there. Stay away," said Chantell Wallis.

KCPD spokeswoman Officer Doaa El-Ashkar also took the time to read a statement from a victim of a July 19 armed robbery near the Country Club Plaza.

“I am that person that had the mentality it wouldn’t happen to me, even while I was confronted with an automatic weapon to my face,” the unidentified victim said.

“The actions of that incident still play through my head, and the most grateful part is that I did not have my 6-year-old child with me," the victim said. “Thank God that she did not have to live through this with me."

Maricela Lozano, 21, was charged in the robbery.

The unidentified victim and Wallis' family expressed gratitude for Operation Legend.

“Without Operation LeGend in effect, I’m not sure things would’ve been taken care of as fast or would I ever have any peace in knowing what’s next,” the unidentified robbery victim said.

“I’m thankful for it, I’m thankful for the department, I’m thankful for whoever spoke up and I’m thankful for all of it,” Chantell Wallis said.

For jurisdictions that utilize the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline, anonymous tips can be made by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online or through the free mobile app at P3Tips.com.

Annual homicide details and data for the Kansas City area are available through the 41 Action News Homicide Tracker, which was launched in 2015.