KANSAS CITY, Mo -- The shooting death of a 9-year-old boy has sent ripples of grief through the community. Children at Ingels Elementary School are trying to cope with the loss of their friend, all thanks to the tragedy that even adults are struggling with.
Dominic Young Jr. was caught in the crossfire of a gunfight Saturday night near 71 Highway and Emmanuel Cleaver II Boulevard. The bullet that took his life took the great potential of a young boy who wanted to grow up and have a positive effect on the world.
"They just took a really great kid from us," Dominic's second-grade teacher Aubrey Paine said. Dominic was especially smart, testing two grades ahead in reading and math, she said.
"He was always the kid who was finished," Paine said. "When he was finished and all of his work was right, he would go around and see if anyone needed help."
Third-grade teacher Angelica Saddler had the difficult task of telling Dominic's classmates their friend had been killed. The children, grieving in their own way, started a club called Justice for Dominic. The club motto: Never forget.
Saddler pointed out the place Dominic used to sit on the classroom carpet.
"Now the kids have unofficially decided that no one is going to sit there to take his spot," she said. "That is his spot, and he is always going to be with us whether he is here physically or not."
Even at his young age, both teachers said Dominic was a history buff and only read nonfiction books. He was fascinated by Martin Luther King, Jr. and read every book in the Ingels Elemetary library about the civil rights leader.
He was a smart, well-behaved boy who had great ambition and was not ashamed of it but proud that one day he was going to grow up and do great things.
As of Wednesday, there had only been four calls into the Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline, a low number according to the Crime Stoppers folks.
If you have any information about who killed Dominic Young Jr., call 816-474-8477. There is a $5,000 reward, and all calls are anonymous.