KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The family of a teen who was killed in a shooting is now facing eviction.
Andrea Andries moved her family of seven to Kansas City from Jacksonville, Florida in March in hopes of fleeing what they consider to be a crime-ridden community.
“I was scared for their lives where we were living in Jacksonville,” Andries said. “It’s very dangerous.”
She understands nothing rarely good comes out of a life filled with crime, a message she warned her two oldest boys about daily.
“I tried so hard. Oh, God I tried so hard,” she said while wiping away tears. “They had everything that they needed but they liked the street life.”
Last Tuesday, Andries said her 14-year-old son, Justin Andries, took a gun from an unlocked car, brought it home and showed it off to his brother, Victor. Andries was sleeping at the time but was suddenly awakened by the sounds of screaming.
“Victor’s like ‘What did I do? I shot him, mom,’” she recalled. “I’m like ‘You shot him? What? Are you serious? Where did you get a gun?’’
Justin died in the family’s Northland apartment before paramedics arrived. Police confirmed the shooting wasn't intentional.
“He got shot right here in his cheek and somehow it went down and damaged his organs,” Andries said.
The family wasn’t allowed back into the apartment until Saturday, but they’ve since learned that they’ll have to find somewhere else to stay because the complex deemed the shooting as “criminal activity,” according to Andries.
“So, we’re left dealing with a loss of a child, grieving with my other son because – it was an accident – but he did it, so he’s hurting and now we’re stuck finding another place to live,” she said.
Monica Roberts is the executive director at Healing Pathway. The non-profit organization is providing the family with trauma support and connecting them with resources and necessities.
“I felt that it was important that we step in and try to take some of the burden off of the family at this time as they prepare to lay their child to work,” Roberts said. “They are definitely struggling.”
Andries called it a blessing considering her family has only been in the metro for two months and have very few connections.
“I didn’t know where to turn and they’re helping me along the way and I’m thankful for that,” Andries said.
She said she’s trying to be strong for her family but it’s hard. Her message to minors: Stay away from guns.
“Don’t touch a gun because playing with a gun will put you in a bad position,” she warned. “It could hurt somebody or take somebody’s life.”
The Andries family is currently staying at Andrea’s boss’ house while they look for another place to live. If you would like to help the family, contact Healing Pathway.