‘He was a baby’: Father of 1-year-old killed in Kansas City shooting speaks out

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tyron Payton’s family is still in disbelief that their child is dead.

The 22-month-old child was shot and killed last week while in the car with his parents. A stranger shot into the car, and his father wants to know why.

“The bullet went in here and came out right here next to my eye,” Robert Payton said of catching the first bullet shot at his family near East 33rd and Agnes. “I looked at him in his eyes and looked at him like, ‘Why are you doing this to me? Why are you doing this to us?’”

Two bullets hit Payton, five hit his wife, and Tyron was shot multiple times.

Payton described the scene as “a hail of bullets,” he said. “The only thing I could do was jump in the middle of the car console and try to pull off. I still didn’t know my baby was shot.”

Payton raced for help at Fire Station 18, just a few blocks away.

“I jumped out of the car and I was like, ‘Check on my baby! Check on my babyI'” he begged firefighters. “And the guy said. ‘I promise you, I’m gonna do everything I could to save your baby.’”

The Payton family was rushed to the hospital. He didn’t know his son was dead until he saw it on TV from his hospital bed.

“All I kept seeing is my baby’s face flashing across the news, and I still don’t know why,” Payton said. “It was just a feeling I thought I’d never feel.”

Payton has a message for the masked man who tried to kill his family: “Dude, for you to — the woman and the kid and everything, you ain’t got no heart. You don’t deserve to be on the streets,” he said.

This grieving father also asked a favor from anyone who knows who did it.

“Please, please, please, help me,” he begged. “If it was y’all’s child, y’all would want the same thing.”

All Payton has left of his son is the love he has for Tyron and memories.

“He loved his puppy. He was full of life and he definitely didn’t do nothing to nobody,” Payton said. “Me and my wife haven’t either, but he was a child.”

A curious, happy, loved child who never got a chance to grow up, and Payton does not know why. Finding the answer to that question is now an obsession.

“It would mean everything in the world. I am not looking for a life for a life. I’m just looking for why you did it, for what reason. He was a baby,” Payton said. “I don’t understand it because no words were said or nothing. He just came up at a nowhere and just started shooting at us.”

There is a $35,000 reward. Call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477 if you can help. All calls are anonymous.

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