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Kansas City community honors Gary Taylor with balloon release

Fitness trainer fatally shot April 25
Gary Taylor balloon release.jpg
Posted at 5:41 PM, May 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-02 18:52:37-04

RAYTOWN, Mo. — For Rashounda Harris, the days following her boyfriend's death have been an emotional roller coaster. But the hardest part has been thinking about raising their children alone.

"It breaks me down every time I think about it," Harris said. "Our son is only 18 months old. He has a 6 year old, a 12 year old… Just to know that they don’t have anymore time and moments to cherish with him anymore."

Gary Taylor, a fitness trainer, was working security in the 18th and Vine District on April 25 when he was shot and killed in a quadruple shooting. Three others suffered non-life threatening injuries. Taylor's friends and family gathered Sunday at Power House Fitness to show their support during a balloon release honoring his life.

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Harris said the outpouring of community support has made it easier to withstand the hardest of times.

"I would tell him look at all the love you have, look at all the lives you’ve changed,” Harris said. "Look at how many people love you from afar and from near. Like, I would tell him, 'I told you so.'”

Two of Taylor's fitness clients, Paris Winchester and Letoria McCloud, said he was so much more than a workout buddy.

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"Life after him is just reinstilling in ourselves what he showed us," McCloud said. "Showing that what you did wasn’t in vain. It wasn’t just words or just knowledge... He was preparing us for something we didn’t even know he was preparing us for."

“Whatever we do, his name must carry on,” Winchester said.

The two said Taylor always inspired others to invest in themselves and their community -- and to support and love one another. And to love loudly.