Community, mayor react to violent Kansas City, Kansas summer

Posted at 6:47 PM, Aug 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-18 19:47:43-04

Crime scene tape and flashing lights were all too familiar for Shanta Barnett, the mother of 15-year-old Brandon Browne, who was shot and killed Thursday night.

That's because she lived through this once before.

On September 2, 2016, her 15-year-old daughter, Brannae, was killed. The family remembered her at the time in an emotional vigil.

"I would not wish this feeling on my worst enemy," Barnett said at the event with tears in her eyes.

Photo of Brandon and Brannae courtesy Mothers of the Village

Barnett lost two children to gun violence in Kansas City, Kansas. She's just one of many mothers mourning the loss of a child. Jennifer Brown is another.

"I try to help the mothers as best I can, because I know their pain," Brown said.

Her son was killed in KCK in 2006. Brown recently started a group called Mothers of the Village to comfort grieving moms and advocate for an end to violence in the city.

"We're pushing forward. We just need a lot more help," she said.

She needs help to tackle a murder rate of 31 per 100,000 people, compared to 27 for Kansas City, Missouri. 

41 Action News reached out to Mayor Mark Holland to see how he plans to tackle the problem.

Holland sent us this statement:

"I offer my thoughts and prayers to the families and friends left behind after these horrible crimes, knowing full well that there are no words to offer that can match the depth of their sorrow. 

The level of violent crime in our community, and others across the region and nation, is unacceptable. That is why we must continue to work hard to bring those responsible for these crimes to justice. Our Police Department is working around the clock to do just that. 

There is nothing more important than the safety of our residents. For that reason, we must also address the systemic issues that foster an environment for crime: the poverty, the lack of job training for many of our residents, the need for more services to help people recover from addictions and mental illness. These were among the issues identified during a series of community forums I launched last year in an effort to determine how to create a safer community. I am committed to working with our community to address these issues and call on all leaders in Wyandotte County to join me in that effort." 

Brown plans to meet with police next week to find out how the community can join forces with the city so that no more mothers have to bury their children.

"It takes a village, and that's what we need. We need everyone to stand up," she said.

Mothers of the Village hosts grief counseling groups every other Thursday at Village Initiative, which is located at 3004 North 27th Street.