Kansas City man killed in 58th and Forest shooting was trying to turn life around in culinary school

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Kansas City man hoping to turn his life around by becoming a chef was killed Friday.

While the investigation is ongoing, those who were helping 46-year-old John McKenzie pursue his dreams said the news is shocking.

“We first met John back in August of 2015, and he wanted to change his life,” said Judy Whitley, the director of admission at L'Ecole Culinaire on the Country Club Plaza.

Whitley said McKenzie was a student for about a year and a half.

John McKenzie

“He always loved to cook. He came from Mississippi, and he just wanted a new life, a change of scenery and new friends,” Whitley said. “Makes you feel like they have a purpose, and we have a purpose to change somebody`s life and to help them change their life.”

According to KCMO police around 4 p.m. Friday officers responded to a disturbance call at a residence near 58th Street and Forest Avenue. That's where officers found the 46-year-old on the floor.

McKenzie was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. Police said a suspect in the shooting turned himself in the next day.

“Very shocking, very shocking to lose one of your students,” Whitley said. “It`s very hard because you become very close with these students.”

Whitley said McKenzie would always stop in to see them and let them know how he was doing.

“He always had a smile on his face," Whitley said. "He loved his family. He loved his faith. He loved his friends."

Whitley said McKenzie was looking forward to interviewing for his next job -- a chance he won't get to experience.

No charges have been filed in this case yet.