KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A family and a neighborhood were mourning the death of Deon Johnson, 36, one of two people shot to death Saturday night at a block party at 58th Terrace and College.
"We were giving this big party for everyone in the neighborhood to come celebrate my mothers retirement/birthday," said Deon's cousin LaTonya Johnson.
She said everybody was hanging out in a neighbor's yard across the street when an argument broke out between several people.
"I was told it was a really minor argument that took place and my relative left from here to go over there to try and deescalate it, because he didnt want his auntie's party ruined," Johnson said.
She told FOX 4 News the shooting started when Deon turned to walk away.
"I was just told he was hit twice in the chest and I believe once in the neck," Johnson explained.
Deon died in the hospital. Police said the other victim, Willard Brown, 47, was already dead when they arrived.
"This is the first time I ever lived in a neighborhood where they had gunfire at the block party," said Patrick Miller, a neighbor.
His family believes it was Deon's kind nature that got him killed.
"He was fun to be around," said Johnson. "He did not like confusion and that's how he ended up losing his life. He could have stayed over here, but he chose to go over there to try and calm everybody down. That's just the type of person he was."
As neighbors stopped by to give their condolences, the family knows time is the only thing that will allow them to fully heal.
"Everybody is empty right now. We're trying to just get our strength back to build each other up," Johnson said..