‘He was a friend to pretty much everyone’: Friend remembers Olathe teen killed in shooting

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OLATHE, Kan. -- A disturbance call came in to Olathe police just after 2 a.m. Thursday. Officers who responded to the Blackbob Townhomes found 14-year-old Zavier Mendoza dead from a gunshot wound.

Police have a 14-year-old suspect in custody in connection to Mendoza’s death. They say the two boys knew each other. The mystery now is what happened leading up the gunshot that took Mendoza’s life.

“He was kind of a chill guy,” friend Josiah Young said.

Mendoza was getting ready to for his first year in high school at Olathe East, looking forward to playing football there.

Young and Mendoza recently lamented about the end of summer, soon having to wake up early for classes.

“We both like chilling and just being lazy most of the time,” Young said.

Just like typical teenagers.

“He was a friend to pretty much everyone in this neighborhood," Young said. “Most of the time he would be just funny, kind and most of the time he didn’t care what people think. He was just that kind of person.”

Tammy Billingsley was at home watching TV when she heard a strange noise.

“All of the sudden I heard this really loud clanking metal and then a big boom. I thought what is that noise?” Billingsley said, of the noise that ended Mendoza’s young life.

Not knowing Mendoza was shot near her neighbor’s front porch, until Billingsley noticed flashing lights at her back door.

“And we saw cops out there like, you know, roaming the grass with their flashlights and I am thinking 'OK, what are they looking for?'” Billingsley said. “You hear it on the news but you never think it is something that will happen in your neighborhood."

And it is something Young never thought would happen to his friend.

“He never really did anything to like be -- no one was ever mean to him because he was that type of person,” Young said.

Police are being tight-lipped about this case but FOX4’s Shannon O’Brien spoke to the woman who lives in the home where Mendoza died.

She suggested there was no malice involved, saying it was, “just a bunch of kids fooling around.” Police are still investigating.



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