‘He was our everything’: Family devastated after 12 year-old killed in Leavenworth

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LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — An adult and a teenager are charged with felony murder in the death of a 12 year-old boy in Leavenworth.

On Friday, Leavenworth Police identified the victim as Brian Henderson Jr. of Kansas City, Missouri.

Brian “BJ” Henderson was a sixth-grade student at University Academy, where the superintendent said he brought a lot of joy to the school. Grief counselors were on hand Friday, helping students and staff cope with the immense loss. 

BJ’s family is devastated, and they said the senseless violence across our community must end.

“It just seems so unreal,” Brilyn Henderson, BJ’s sister, said.

Fighting back tears, BJ’s sisters held each other tight as they try to grasp what happened to their baby brother.

“He was our everything,” Bobbi Hubbard, BJ’s sister, said.

BJ’s sister Brooke said she and a friend were running errands Wednesday night in Leavenworth, and her little brother tagged along. They were heading back to Kansas City when she said her friend insisted on making one last stop at Kare Pharmacy on 4th Street.

“All I really remember is the shots ringing off. I just started ducking, and we pulled out of the lot and my brother was just slumped like this, but he was still breathing,” Brooke Johnson, BJ’s sister, said.

Johnson said she was screaming BJ’s name, but he didn’t respond.

“Before he took his final breath, I just told him I love him. He looked at me in my eyes and closed them. He closed them,” Johnson said.

BJ was the only boy of five kids in the family. He was known as a star football and basketball player and a good student with big dreams.

“He was like everybody’s baby. Everybody just loved him, no matter what. He couldn’t wait to grow up. He always stayed with his big sister because he wanted to be like her. This was his inspiration,” Brilyn Henderson said.

It’s a future BJ won’t live to see. His family is crushed by the unimaginable loss and are struggling to understand the senseless violence.

“Y’all took my best friend, my brother, my other half, everything away from me over something stupid,” Johnson said.

BJ’s family has not made any funeral or memorial service plans just yet, but they’re thankful for an outpouring of love, support and prayers from the community.

The adult suspect in the case, Darvon Thomas, is due back in court April 28.

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