Suspected gunman dead after shootout; 3 officers shot expected to live

Metro mom still waiting for answers 11 years later: Who killed her son?

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The sun continues to come up and go down, thousands of times now, since Misty Kirwan's son was shot and killed.

In the 11 years since his murder, Chris Bartholomew's mom hasn’t forgotten how raw and real the pain is.

“You know, it’s your baby," Misty Kirwan said. "You worry, 'Was he scared? Did he really know what was going on?' You have that fear because that’s your baby.”

Kirwan said it’s about justice for her son, but it’s specifically about the person with the right information calling police.

“There is nothing that compares to your only child being gone,” Kirwan said.

Misty Kirwan and her son Chris Bartholomew

She said most of her son’s 21 years were just the two of them.

“That bond is there. It’s there normally, but when it’s just the two of you, it’s even stronger,” she said.

The metro mother said he was a college student working toward a career as a police officer. It’s part of why he was the one his friends called when they needed a ride one May night, 11 years ago.

“His friends had gone down to Westport, had too much to drink, called him and he went down to pick them up," she said.

Police have told Kirwan that gang members were driving and trading bullets near 39th and Broadway and that her son was shot while walking on the sidewalk outside Walgreen’s.

“Several of [the drivers] went through the parking lot and several other went up onto Broadway heading north shooting at each other the whole time, and Chris was on the sidewalk in between the shooting," she said police told her.

He died the next day at a hospital.

More than a decade later, there is no one behind bars for his death. Police have identified a blue 2003 Isuzu Rodeo, a gray 2007 Pontiac G6, and a brown vehicle with suspected involvement.

Suspect vehicles in Chris Bartholomew's death

Kirwan said with that many people there, she knows someone has the answers she needs both for her son and possible someone else’s.

“The sad thing is because people won’t talk, and they won’t come forward, there could already be someone else that has been murdered by this person,” Kirwan said. “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him, and I don’t wonder what he would be today. He had a lot of potential. He had a lot of life in him and he would do good things.”

She's not planning to give up in her quest for justice.

“I’m still his mom. I still take care of him. I’m still trying to find justice for him," she said.

She’s asking any of the people leaving the bars that night, also walking along, or who know details about the shooting, to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477 or submit a tip online here.

“Maybe they think something they saw is nothing, but it could really be huge in solving the case," she said.

The reward in this case is now $30,000 for a simple anonymous call with information on the case. Call-takers do not record whether the tipster is a male or female, do not take down any contact information, and if a reward is due, he or she can also collect it anonymously.