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'Heading in the right direction': Counselor reflects on mentoring teen killed in Lexington, Missouri, shooting

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Posted at 7:05 PM, Mar 08, 2024

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Jobe Naylor went to Lexington, Missouri, last week to visit friends.

The visit ended in gunfire and Naylor's death.

Two other teens were shot in the incident February 29 at the Garden Apartments.

KSHB 41's Megan Abundis learned more about Naylor through his counselor.

Licensed therapist Michael Moore works with teens through referrals from the Missouri Department of Corrections and Kansas City-area school districts.

He sees what kids struggle with every day and he knew Jobe Naylor well.

Moore said Naylor was a student, an athlete, and a 17-year-old who loved his grandparents.

“He had a sparkle in his eye, he had a personality as well," Moore said. "He didn’t always make the best choices, but what 15-year-old makes the best choice? He didn’t, but he also knew that, too."

Moore and Naylor worked together so Naylor would have a bright future.

Naylor was planning a career in the automotive industry sparked by watching his grandfather work on cars.

He also recently enrolled in a vocational college, according to a GoFundMe page.

"He was heading in the right direction," Moore said. "Unfortunately, he made a choice to go out with some friends."

Moore said guns are common among the teenagers he works with.

“Proliferation of weapons is something I didn’t see twenty years ago, but now everybody is carrying," Moore said. "It’s become the new bling. The population I work with, the majority of them carry and that is a travesty. He’s not going to realize his dreams because everyone's carrying a gun and everyone has access to guns."

Moore said parents and other adults need to meet kids where they are so they feel supported.

“There’s a whole generation of kids that feel like they don’t matter as much as they used to,” he said.

He’s seen heartbreaking incidents and shared more about what he sees every day.

“Here’s a 17-year-old who survived seven gun shots," Moore said. "His response was, ‘I shouldn’t have been involved in the stuff I was involved in.' What 17-year-old deserves to be shot seven times?"

Moore said he talked to a 12-year-old boy who overdosed on fentanyl, but was able to survive with the help of Narcan.

"I talked with him about what would happen the next time somebody didn’t have Narcan," Moore said. He said, 'Well, it would have been his time to go and at least he would have had a good high’. That’s coming from a 12-year-old. Those are the people we are failing and we need to do a better job"

Moore says the way to do a better job for troubled teens is getting out of our comfort level.

What he finds more than anything else is kids want someone to listen to them.

“Jobe happens to become a statistic now,” he said. “It’s unfortunate we have so many young people who are statistics and they shouldn’t be.”

He says adults aren’t having the conversations they need to have with children.

“There’s a real detachment from children and from role models and adults in general,” he said. “What we really want in life is to belong, so if kids don’t get that at home, they’re going to search for it."