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KC metro youth homicides concern community members

Posted at 6:21 PM, Sep 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-27 19:34:17-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A Kansas City, Kansas, family is grieving the loss of a 15-year-old after the city's 39th homicide occurred Saturday night, as police continue to search for a suspect.

"A loss of life, it's a tragedy, and what comes to mind right now is that we need to do everything we can to help the people who did this get served justice," said Edgar Galicia, director for Central Avenue Betterment Association.

Of the 39 homicides, four involved someone 16 years or younger.

Galicia said one way to get children out of violence is to give them jobs.

"Give them real ways to make a living and enjoy living, so they don’t have to fall under crime and all these horrendous activities," Galicia said.

It's a problem on the other side of the state line, as six Kansas City, Missouri, homicides involve someone 16 years old or younger.

This includes 22-month-old Tyron Payton who was shot and killed Monday while in a car with his parents. No one is in custody in his death.

And 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was killed in July while he slept at home. Ryson Ellis, 22, is charged in his death.

“What type of opportunity does a 2-year-old have at -- or even 15, you know, they are just starting their lives," said Teesha Miller, executive director with Youth Ambassadors. "So to have their lives cut off at such a young age is, I can't even find a word for it, its beyond disgusting, it’s beyond sad."

Youth Ambassadors was established in 2010 to teach conflict resolution for underserved youth.

"Violence is preventable," Miller said, "and we need to start working with some very concrete ways to prevent it."

They're searching for solutions in a cycle of violence plaguing communities.

"Making sure that they have a loving and caring adult they can reach out to," Miller said.

Family, according to Galicia, is the "core structure of our community."

"Nobody wants to see anybody dying or getting killed but nobody wants to see any loved one harming anybody else," adds Galicia.

Youth Ambassadors will hold a youth-led online event from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesday to bring awareness and education to topics that affect Kansas City teens, such as confronting discrimination, combatting violence, resolving conflict, healthy relationships, mental health, suicide prevention and more. Those interested in attending can register on their Facebook page.