Brookside murder-suicide victim’s close friend stunned that family struggle escalated so violently

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Friends are left in disbelief – shocked to find out Tuesday night's Brookside murder-suicide involved a loved one.

Kansas City police said a fight over money led a man to shoot and kill his mother, shoot her friend, and then turn the gun on himself. The deadly shooting happened around 6:30 p.m. in the 5700 block of Central Avenue.

Police identified the victim as 64-year-old Nicki Alexopoulos, a grandmother and retired teacher. Police have yet to release her son’s name, but said Alexopoulos’ friend is now in critical condition.

Alexopoulos’ closest friends are now struggling to understand how things escalated to such violence.

“Stunned,” said Angie Reed. “I can’t even verbalize how stunned I was.”

Reed was at a loss for words when she found out her longtime friend was gunned down in her Brookside home by her own son.

“I couldn`t believe that she was the victim of such a violent act,” Reed said, “because you just don`t anticipate that that`s going to be something that someone you know, that`s going to happen to them.”

Reed said she was shocked at the sudden end to her friendship of more than 20 years, dating back to when Alexopoulos taught English alongside Reed at Fort Osage High School.

“Just a great sense of humor, very loyal,” Reed said to describe Alexopoulos. “[She] would go to the mat for you if she felt like that was necessary, and I think that was something that she got across to her students as well.”

The other woman who was shot but survived told police that Alexopoulos had confronted her son about embezzling her money, and that led to the deadly shooting.

“My understanding has been that that has been an ongoing struggle for her with her son and she was trying to handle as best as she knew how,” Reed said of the years long embezzlement.

Reed said Alexopoulos’ son struggled with mental health issues, but said no one ever expected it to escalate to this. It’s a tragic situation that's made Reed realize just how precious life, and the people in it, really are to her.

“And not just assume that tomorrow will be a repeat of today,” Reed said, “because as we found out with Nicki, it`s not.”

Reed said she's now focused on coping with the loss and praying for Alexopoulos’ family.