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Community, loved ones mourn loss of 2 KCK teens killed in shooting

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Posted at 5:27 PM, Mar 14, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Ks — A community is mourning the loss of two teens who were killed last Thursday.

Kansas City, Missouri, police say it happened just after 12:45 am in a wooded area within city limits.

A man is in custody for further investigation.

The two victims, 19-year-old Kalob Ruth and 17-year-old Carlos Gonzalez, were transported to University of Kansas Health System and later died from their injuries.

“I’ve been just asking a lot of questions. I just wanna know what happened,” Lee Blood, Ruth's brother, said. “He was a great great kid, and he’s so young. Just so young for this to happen.”

According to the family, Ruth is the father of a three-year-old son named Mateo and had another child on the way.

He always showed up for his friends and had an infectious smile.

"The kids won’t get the chance to really get to meet how great of a dad he really was, cause they were just so young for him to be taken away from them,” Blood said.

A benefit was held for Ruth on Wednesday night at St. Margaret’s Park in Kansas City, Kansas. The community met for a taco dinner fundraiser and balloon release.

Friends and family say Ruth and the other victim, Gonzalez, were best friends.

KSHB 41 sat down with Carlos' older sister, Maria Rodriguez, who adopted her younger siblings after losing their mom three years ago.

“They took a lot from a family that had already had a big hit, you know?" Rodriguez said. “When you bury your parent, something changes, and not much can really hurt you after that. But losing my baby brother, it’s been a lot.”

Rodriguez says her brother wanted to use sports to get out of town and do something better with his life.

He loved being active in the gym, and played multiple sports at school.

“I had a young man message me yesterday, and he said Carlos was like a brother to him and he really just wants to make him proud," Rodriguez said. "And that gives me hope that maybe these boys will look at what happened to Carlos and maybe take a little more care of themselves, because he was taken way too soon."

Gonzalez’s other sister, Erica Rodriguez, says she has seen so many kids between the ages 15 and 18 lose their lives to gun violence in the community.

She did not think her own brother would become a part of that statistic.

“We didn’t expect to be burying my brother at 17. He had a whole life ahead of him and we needed him here," Erica Rodriguez said. “I just pray Kansas City does better and stop losing these youths that have whole lives in front of them.”

While the city continues to explore solutions on how to curb youth violence, the families left searching for closure says justice is the first step.

“My main focus for the next couple of days is to get him to rest. And after getting him laid to rest, everything’s shifting to getting justice for him," Maria Rodriguez said. “I want everyone to face the consequences of their actions, because somebody knows something.”