NewsLocal News


‘My son mattered:' Mother visits place where son was shot, killed in KCMO

Posted at 5:37 PM, Aug 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-27 18:37:47-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Very little is known about what happened before Dante Lorenzo Wachtler, 25, was shot and killed.

He is part of Kansas City's violent trend this summer, and it's the impression his California family now has of the city. 

Wachtler's mother, Toni Priore, and brother traveled to KC on Monday to receive his body and see where he took his last breath. 

"I needed to see my son. I needed to see where he was murdered. It was important to me," Priore said, standing on the corner of 9th & Harrison. 

Wachtler was found shot to death in the street at the intersection on August 19 around 4:30 a.m. 

"He had purchased a ticket for a Greyhound bus ride, and he went out to smoke a cigarette and he was murdered," Priore said. "Didn't know the area. Didn't know whether it was a good area or not. How would he know? He had never been here before. And he's gone now, he's totally gone." 

Wachtler wasn't from Kansas City. He'd only been in the city for a couple weeks and was staying with a friend. Priore said the friend lives outside St. Joseph. 

Priore said her youngest son was hoping to find a new job as a chef, looking for a fresh start. 

"He loved feeding people. And in our family, to feed you is to love you," said Priore. 

Wachtler was about to board a bus back to California that Sunday morning because the family he was staying with ended up moving. 

The Greyhound station is just a couple blocks away from 9th & Harrison. It's unknown why Wachtler had walked in that area. 

Priore said she got a call from an Orange County Sheriff's Deputy. 

"Hearing it, you feel the life drain out of you basically. Your blood, I'm not sure what it was, but you start feeling empty," Priore said. "It's hard for me to know I'll never see my son again." 

All police can release is a picture of a gold or silver four-door car seen leaving the area at the time Wachtler was killed. 

Detectives are still working the case and are trying to find witnesses. 

Now Priore said she's part of a group she never wanted to be in: mothers who have lost a child. Many other families in the city are going through the same tragedy. 

August has been the deadliest month in a decade with 19 homicides in Kansas City, Missouri as of August 27. 

Half the homicide victims in August were in their 20s, an increase from the last five years. All of them were killed outside. 

"Makes me scared for the people of Kansas City or for the people who come here, it really does. I don't want other people to go through this. It's not right," Priore said. 

Wachtler's family is hoping someone will come forward so they can get justice for the young man described as charismatic, caring and fun loving. 

Priore also has a message. 

"My son mattered. He mattered. Anyone who's murdered matters to somebody," she said. 

Anyone with information should call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477. There is a reward. 

Wachtler's family has set up a GoFundMe account for funeral expenses.