Man pleads guilty in 2019 murder of Erin Langhofer at First Friday event

Erin Langhofer Pic.jpg
Posted at 5:26 PM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 18:54:25-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A man admitted in court he shot the bullet that killed Erin Langhofer as she stood at a food truck during a 2019 First Friday event in Kansas City, Missouri.

Deon'te Copkney, 20, pleaded guilty last week in Jackson County Court to second degree murder and armed criminal action.

Langhofer was in an area of the First Friday event packed with food trucks, street musicians and other attractions when around 10 p.m., Copkney got into a fight with another man near E. 18th Street and Main Street.

A witness told police Copkney appeared to be losing the fight.

The other man let Copkney up and the witness told police Copkney pulled a gun, according to the court document.

The two groups of men ran in separate directions.

Copkney fired several shots and ran from the scene.

Langhofer and her boyfriend were standing in front of a food truck serving Greek fare when she was struck by one of Copkney's shots.

The pair had no part in the fight that led to the gunfire, police said.

Police quickly located Copkney and took him into custody.

Copkney told police he shot into the air and didn't mean to hurt anyone, the court document states.

Evidence at the scene contradicted Copkney's statements about what happened.

Langhofer worked as a domestic violence counselor.

Her father told 41 Action News reporter Jordan Betts his daughter's passion was to help others.

"She got her passion when she was a court room advocate during one of her internships in college for domestic violence," her father Tom Langhofer told 41 Action News.

The Langhofer family issued the following statement to 41 Action News Tuesday evening:

Although the defendant has pleaded guilty, for us it is a hollow victory and an outcome in which no one “wins.” As a family, we have tried to stand for and represent Erin through this legal process, and we believe this is the best possible resolution at this time. We have the utmost respect for the prosecutor's office, which has kept us well informed during this difficult process. Erin's death continues to have ripple effects throughout the community, and the loss of her still feels unfathomable to all who knew and loved her best. We miss her every minute of every day.
Tom, Marcy and Kathryn Langhofer

Langhofer said the family donated Erin's organs and said they would be helping up to 50 people.

Copkney is scheduled to be sentenced July 23.

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