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'Everybody loved Manny': Mother remembers student killed in Northeast Middle School stabbing

Manuel Guzman and Vicenta Guzman
Vicenta Guzman
Posted at 5:00 PM, Apr 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-14 23:27:39-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Manuel Guzman made everyone around him smile, according to his mother Vicenta Guzman.

Manuel, who his mother referred to as "Manny," was killed in a stabbing at Northeast Middle School in Kansas City, Missouri.

"Manny was a happy kid and he loves everybody, and his name will always be remembered," Vicenta Guzman said.

She cherishes the last 14 years, the ones she shared with her only child.

On Tuesday morning, Guzman dropped Manny off at Northeast Middle School.

She hadn't even pulled out the parking lot when she received a call that her son had been stabbed.

"This is heartbreaking, this is painful. This is for the rest of my life," Guzman said. "They took the only thing that I had. My Manny, my heart. Who I fought for"

According to his mom, Manny was attacked by another student in a first-floor bathroom right outside where security guards are stationed.

"And you guys mean to tell me that they didn't hear what was going on in that bathroom?" Guzman said.

She says Manny was stabbed six times.

KSHB 41 News asked Vicenta Guzman how she thinks the knife made it into the school building in the first place.

"I personally don't know how the metal detectors did not detect this," Guzman said. "I believe there has to be a door where only the person in school can open and get this weapon in."

Although KCPS is now reviewing its security procedures, Guzman believes it's too little, too late.

"As much as teachers and everybody loved my son. They did not have the proper instructions to save my son, I don't think that they did enough to protect my child," she said.

The suspect, a Northeast Middle School student, accused of stabbing Manny has been charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon.

Vicenta Guzman believes there were warning signs pointing to threats made on social media by the suspect and thinks the attack was planned.

"And I'm going to fight for justice. And I'm going to fight against the school and against the security guards in the name of Manny and the name of all these other kids that went through a violent situation and got killed too," Guzman said.

As Guzman makes funeral plans for her son, she said above all, she remembers Manny as someone who cared for everyone and was always there for anyone who needed him.

"He was nothing but joy," Vicenta Guzman said. "He was there for everyone else but himself. He cared for his classmates, his teachers and everyone who loved Manny."

Manny also loved to cook, he loved food and to play football.

His dream was to earn a scholarship and play football at the collegiate level.

Vicenta Guzman knows she's not the only parent who's had to bear the pain of losing a child.

"I know there's other parents who lost their children that feel what I feel," she said.

Just last year in KCMO, 21 of the victims who died of violence were under 18 years or younger.

Vicenta Guzman says it's time for the community to take action to prevent these tragedies from continuing.

"There's so many young kids losing their lives," Vicenta Guzman said. "I want Kansas City to change. This is me today, I don't want it to be a next person tomorrow."

Manny's family has created a GoFundMe page to raise funds for funeral expenses.