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‘It’s traumatizing’: DeLaSalle parent recalls wave of emotions after shots fired near high school's graduation

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Posted at 6:21 AM, May 20, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Saturday’s shots-fired incident during DeLaSalle High School’s graduation left many parents and students with a sour taste on a day meant to be celebratory and uplifting.

It was a day Chanele Anderson had been looking forward to for years — 18 to be exact.

“Us parents, we waited 18 years of our life for our kids to freaking graduate, and y'all come and you ruin a special moment,” Anderson said.

Her son, E’lijah, won the Spirit of DeLaSalle award in addition to graduating with a 4.0 GPA, making the day a much-anticipated event.

“I’m very proud of my son,” Anderson said. “Top, a head of his class. I’m beyond proud.”

But that joy turned to fear in an instant when she and hundreds of other families heard multiple shots ring out toward the end of the ceremony.

“It’s mamas on the ground, people having seizures, I mean it’s like the guns, they would not stop,” Anderson said.

It’s not the first time a celebratory event turned violent in Kansas City this year. Many still have February’s parade shooting on the top of their minds.

“It’s re-traumatizing because my daughter was there, one of my twins was there at that parade,” Anderson said.

Anderson said she can’t help but notice a recurring theme of youth and violence nowadays.

“It is a huge problem in Kansas City because that’s all you hear every time, it’s shooting,” she said.

Addressing this solution takes unity that comes with attending community meetings, talking with youth and spreading love, not the "performative" kind, Anderson said.

“Don’t just like, ‘Oh, we going to come together for two weeks and that’s it,” she said. “No, let’s do this thing. Let’s start some community stuff, let’s be there for our kids.”

KSHB 41 is working to learn more details about this incident as it is an ongoing investigation.