A moment of release, remembrance for family of young father killed during police pursuit

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- At the intersection of 23rd St. and Television Place on Sunday afternoon, a small crowd gathered. Every hand held the strings of several balloons.

"Let the moment be about celebrating him," a pastor told AaRon Daniel's family and friends standing in the grass. 

At their feet, reminders of the crash that claimed the 29-year-old's life lingered. Bits of plastic and glass from the Dodge Avenger he was riding in were scattered by the makeshift memorial of teddy bears and balloons put up in Daniel's honor.

Daniel was one of four people killed during an Independence Police Department pursuit on June 1. Officers were pursuing Victoria Brown, who they said was driving a stolen SUV, when Brown slammed into the Dodge. 

"My brother is not attached to this crash site. He's so much more. He is so much more than that accident that happened, and he'll always be remembered and always be loved," Marion Bailey, Daniel's sister, said with tears in her eyes.

She spoke to 41 Action News right after family and friends released dozens of balloons into the air for Daniel. For some, even doing that proved too painful.

"I didn't even let these balloons go, because I didn't want to let him go," Ronald Haley, a childhood friend, said.

Daniel was a father of four. The most recent addition to the family, a newborn baby still in the hospital on the day of the crash.

Those who knew and loved him most said Daniel made everyone around him laugh.

"Everybody he met became his best friend," Wyndy Daniel Williams, his mother, said.

"He always let me be me and vice versa. He always had a happy attitude, no matter what," Cartez Liggins, another lifelong friend, added.

Daniel's friends and family are calling for change to the Independence Police Department's pursuit policy. But Sunday was about celebrating the man they loved.

"I ain't gonna never let him die. I don't care how long it is, no matter what I'm not going to ever let him die," Liggins said.

Victoria Brown faces three counts of murder in the second degree and one count of resisting a lawful stop. She's scheduled to appear in court on June 25.

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