KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Hundreds of community members came together Monday night to show their support for the families of the victims of Sunday’s shooting at a KCK bar.
Police shut down Central Avenue from 13th to 10th streets, as some 200 people marched down Central holding lit candles and calling for an end to gun violence, while also paying respect to the four men who were shot and killed.
Lilianna Dillanuva was childhood friends with Everado Meza, one of the victims.
“He was such a good guy with a caring heart, always with a big smile and great laugh he had,” she said.
She was among the grieving family and friends, community leaders and people – just wanting to show their support – who attended the vigil.
“Why can’t we just have peace? This neighborhood is peaceful,” she said.
“When one hurts, all of us hurt,” said Reginald Jones, who lives nearby. “I want them to know it’s not one nationality. It’s all of us. Caucasian, blacks, Hispanics, everybody should come together and support one another.”
The Central Avenue Betterment Association (CABA) organized the walk to honor the four victims and to also send a message that the shooting does not define their neighborhood.
“The reality is that we have been working hard to better the security and safety of our community, and it’s not one person’s job. It’s everybody’s,” said Edgar Galicia, president of CABA.
Unified Government commissioner Brian McKiernan echoed Galicia’s message.
“Let me tell you what I know about this neighborhood,” McKiernan told the crowd. “This is a good neighborhood that is full of good people who work hard every single day of their lives to make life better for themselves, their families and the community.”
Jorge Flores used to be a police officer. He championed his community to work with law enforcement so they can arrest the second suspect, Hugo Villanueva Morales, who remained on the run as of Monday night.
“This is not a time for them to be afraid,” Flores said. “This is a time for our community to really come together and work together in order to bring justice not only for the family but the entire community.”
It was a night filled with neighbors calling for an end to gun violence while also lending a shoulder to the grieving families of those lost.
“It’s very important for them to feel part of the community,” Galicia said.