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'Nobody was like her': Slain 11-year-old Kauffman School student remembered by loved ones, classmates

Kourtney Freeman
Posted at 10:14 PM, Apr 15, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo — As of Monday, Kansas City, Missouri, has recorded 40 homicides for 2024.

KC Mother's in Charge planned a vigil for 11-year-old Kourtney Freeman on Monday night, which is an all too familiar scene for most of those who attended.

Freeman was inside of her home when bullets from outside struck and killed near Flora Avenue and east 33rd Street on April 10.

"Nobody was like her," said Samantha Freeman, Kourtney's mother.

Kourtney's mother remembers her as someone who loved sports, but loved people even more.

Kourtney Freeman
Kourtney Freeman was killed at 11 years old. Her mother said she loved to play basketball and she planned to try track and volleyball.

"She was the best thing I had in my life," Samantha Freeman said. "She was my soul, my best friend, my everything."

Samantha Freeman said she came downstairs and found her daughter after the shooting. At only 11 years old, the child's mother said she was against violence.

"That was wrong. She had nothing to do with whatever is going on out here in the world," Samantha Freeman said. "She was just blooming; she had a whole life ahead of her. I knew she was going to do something with it, unlike some people who waste their lives and waste their time," she said.

During the vigil, a large number people raised their hand when they were asked if they've lost someone to violence.

According to KCPD's website, out of 40 homicides this year, six of the victims are under the age of 18.

"We need to save our babies"

The crowd at the vigil proved young people are victims of crime in more ways than one.

Kourtney's best friend since fifth grade is still trying to understand why her classmate didn't have more time.

"She didn’t deserve this," her best friend said. "She was only 11 years old. She only got to live 11 years."

Many of the children asked KSHB 41 to share memories of the Kourtney they knew and how they will miss growing up with her.

"Every time I passed her in the hallway, she called me pretty, told me I'm nice, and made everyone feel good about themselves," a friend said.

Another friend of Kourtney's had a similar memory that came to mind.

"I would be in the D room. She would walk in there too. She would just start complimenting me and smiling at me," the friend said.

Mother to Mother

A year ago today, Authurine Henderson-Simmons said her son was murdered. He was 33 years old.

"By being here, my heart is shattered again," Henderson-Simmons said. "This baby is 11. No graduation."

Henderson-Simmons showed up because as a mother whose son was taken, she knows the feeling.

"Your life will never be the same. It’s heartbreaking. It changes your life completely. Your moods when you wake up, your eating and sleeping — it’s a game changer and heartbreaker," Henderson-Simmons said.

She joins a crowd of people who expressed how too many families are hurt from all of the violence.

From one mother to another, she said you get up everyday because you have to.

"I had to pray and ask for prayer and still today, I have to pray and ask for prayer," she said.

Henderson-Simmons said she still hasn't gotten any justice for her son but she prays it will happen.

Call for justice

As of Monday afternoon, there are no arrests. KCPD said they are working on identifying a person of interest.

Kourtney's mother is now taken under KC Mother's in Charge's wing. They told her to expect frequent check-ins for the foreseeable future.

"I pray whoever did this that ya'll pay for this in this lifetime and whatever lifetime you live in because you took my soul away from me and you’ll get whatever you deserve," Freeman said.

Kourtney was a student at Ewing Marion Kauffman School. She helped create a community violence conference through an after-school program before she was killed.

The school is asking the public to support by attending on April 20 at the school from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. They will honor Kourtney and sell special t-shirts created for her.