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Family holds vigil for 17-year-old Benyamin Hawthorne, Kansas City teen killed at basketball court

Vigil for slain KCMO teen
Posted at 10:30 PM, May 22, 2024

KANSAS CITY, MO — On Wednesday, a Kansas City, Missouri, family and community came together in prayer to remember 17-year-old Benyamin Hawthorne.

The teen was shot and killed after a dispute at the basketball court at Town Fork Creek Greenway Park at East 57th Street and Bellefontaine Avenue.

"Every time I blink, I see his face," Benyamin Hawthorne, the teen's father, whose name is also Benyamin, said at the vigil.

With pain in his eyes, the father is trying to hold onto the memories of his son, who is gone too soon.

"He loved to bring joy to anybody he came across," his father said. "Gentleness really ... just a beautiful spirit. No apparent reason my son is gone; one day at the park and he's gone."
This act of violence is something Rosilyn Temple with KC Mothers in Charge describes as senseless.

“Ben was only 17 years old; when are we going to stop killing our babies?" Temple said. "When are we going to stop coming to these vigils and saying, 'We had enough.'"
Now, Benyamin's father is looking to his family and friends for strength.
“It's a long way away from peace is what it look like," his father said.