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'My heart is shattered': Educator remembers 12-year-old Jerel McGeachy Jr., boy killed at Northland home

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Posted at 9:20 PM, Apr 04, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jerel McGeachy Jr., a late 12-year-old Northland boy, left a profound impact on anyone he came across.

The boy was killed in a murder-suicide that also left his parents dead. The family was found dead on Monday morning at a home in the 8300 block of NW 90th Street.

A preliminary investigation found McGeachy Jr. and his mother died from gunshot wounds. His father died from self-inflicted gun shot wound.

Dr. Ryan Smith, the principal at Congress Middle School, says he was very close to McGeachy Jr.

Smith said McGeachy Jr. was extremely bright, was in the gifted program and was able to skip a grade.
 
“When I first met Jerel, he was an incoming seventh grade student who shared his passion for public speaking and his desire to become an attorney general," Smith said. “He even expressed his desire to skip seventh grade and start directly in eighth grade, which he could do based on his test scores. Jerel had come from an elementary school in Topeka, Kansas, which follows the K-6 model. As a result, his first year in middle school began as an eighth grade student."

Smith said despite being young, McGeachy Jr. was already a mature and intelligent kid who was never afraid to speak his mind and stand up for what he believed was right.

McGeachy Jr. spoke at many events, including a Martin Luther King Jr. event hosted by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Eta Beta Lambda.

"This has really shaken our community," said Cameron Martin, president of the Alpha Phi Alpha Wichita Chapter. "He definitely left a lasting impression even before he got up to do his address."

Martin said McGeachy Jr.'s confidence in his abilities were ahead of his time.

"I would argue that most adults don’t have that kind of confidence," Martin said. "For him to get up and command the audience and to own the moment that he worked so hard for definitely spoke volumes of this young man's confidence."

McGeachy Jr. left a lasting impression.

Below is a part of the address he gave at the Alpha Phi Alpha event:

"I don’t mind. Like anybody, I’d like to live a long life. Longevity has its place, but I’m not concerned about that now; I just want to do God’s will."

“A young man who would have made a profound impact, I’m certain,” Martin said.

Smith reflected on how much McGeachy Jr. accomplished in a short time.

“Jerel reached the mountaintop even if his time here on earth was brief," Smith said. "I feel proud to have been a part of his journey.”

McGeachy Jr.'s address went on to say, “We got some difficult days ahead; it doesn’t really matter to me now because I’ve been to the mountain top."

Smith said he made many friends and was very involved at the school.

"Jerel served on our Congress Middle School Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Council and played the trumpet in the band," Smith said. “He was inducted into our National Junior Honor Society and was selected to be the principal's student speaker for the eighth grade celebration at the end of this school year."

KSHB 41 found out many people around town had been given a copy of his business card.

The Negro League Baseball Museum confirmed McGeachy Jr.'s business card was even on their desks.

During Congress Middle School’s Veterans Day Celebration, Smith said McGeachy Jr. honored is mother.

“Veterans Day is not a day off, but a day to remember the daily sacrifices of veterans so we maintain our freedom,” McGeachy Jr. said at the time. “My mother who served as an officer in the U.S. Army is an ever-present reminder of such sacrifices."

Smith said he would always remember the moments they shared together.

“I remember telling him that it's important to sometimes just be a kid and enjoy playing in the mud and getting dirty. However, he replied that he would rather go to the library and check out a book," Smith said. "Although my heart is shattered by his loss, I will always cherish the great moments we shared."