Crimefighting Grandmother Loses 2nd Grandson in Shooting
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The founder of an anti-violence group is mourning the loss of a second grandson killed on the streets of Kansas City. Police say someone shot and killed 38-year-old Timothy Riley in broad daylight last week.
“I wish they would catch him for the sake of him hurting somebody else,” said Joyce Riley, Timothy’s grandmother.
Many know her as leader of the 23rd Street Non-Violent Marchers, an anti-crime group she formed nine years ago after another one of her grandsons was murdered.
Timothy Riley had trouble reading and writing. And that made it hard for him to find work. Still, his grandmother says the developmentally disabled man was able to provide for himself
“He just had to do something,” Joyce Riley said. “He had to work. He mowed people’s yards, he picked up the paper and everybody in the neighborhood liked him because they know he would help them move something or carry something.”
Despite the challenges he faced in his life, Timothy Riley managed to perform odd jobs. Last week after finishing a maintenance job at a child care center, someone killed him for the cash in his pocket as he walked near 41st and South Benton.
“He was little for his stature,” his grandmother said. “He was short. He was less than 5 feet tall. And he was much smaller, so if you didn’t see it in his face, then just looking at him, you’d think he was a kid.”
Timothy Riley’s murder comes after Joyce Riley worked to make her neighborhood safer. She’s widely credited for helping bring a new Boys & Girls Club to the east side after another grandson, Larry, was murdered in 2003. Timothy’s murder has her questioning her efforts.
“I thought we had made some progress,” she said. “And this is like a setback.”
Other neighborhood leaders who have followed the Rileys’ crimefighting strategy say anyone who would target a developmentally disabled person needs to be off the streets now.
“It’s tragic,” said Pat Clarke, leader of the PAC 20 neighborhood group. “The Rileys are out doing their thing. Trying to prevent this. Then this happens to them. I’m urging anybody that knows anything to come forward.”
The Kansas City Crime Commission already has received anonymous offers to increase the reward in Timothy Riley’s case by $5,000. That may happen by the end of the week.