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Ruskin Heights pastor comforts family of 15-year-old killed at park

Dennis Lester, senior pastor at Bethel Family Worship Center Kansas City
Posted at 10:18 PM, Jun 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-08 23:51:56-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Bethel Family Worship Center in South Kansas City is comforting one of its own following the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old Tuesday in Kansas City, Missouri.

"Nothing but life in front of him and it has been taken away," Dennis Lester, senior pastor at Bethel Family Worship Center Kansas City, said.

Word of the tragedy that unfolded down the street at Sycamore Park traveled quickly.

As families enjoyed the playground around 2:30 p.m., people who live nearby said they hear three gunshots.

When police arrived, they found a young victim laying on the ground. He died at the hospital.

"This is a pain that I'm feeling right now. I've never felt before in my life," Lester said

Lester said he remembers last seeing the victim, who family identified as a 15-year-old who attended Ruskin High School, playing with sisters outside the church.

"Full of enthusiasm, energy, good young man, athlete," Lester said.

As detectives dedicate their resources in tracking down the shooter, the pastor said the family believes an online feud ended with someone pulling a trigger.

"There's no value with the decisions that are made," Lester said. "In a split second, children – children – who aren’t even old enough to drive, aren't old enough to smoke, aren't old enough to vote, make decisions that impact not only their lives, but the rest of someone else's life."

Another killing in Kansas City that's torn apart another family.

"It’s not a gift of saying the right words, doing the right thing," Lester said. "It’s just to make sure that they feel our presence or love to know that we're with them. That's all we can do as pastors."