Kansas City photographer, a father of 4, killed after Sunday protest

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City photographer was shot and killed after Sunday night’s protest. Police say three men were trying to steal his Jeep.

His family and Mayor Quinton Lucas want people to know his life was more than his death.

The photographs 50-year-old Marvin Francois took are moments captured in time. Francois loved his family his city, and the art of photography.

The husband and father of four was a software engineer. His son, 18-year-old Jayden Francois, said his true creative passion was taking pictures.

“He could capture life. A moment. A person. An event. Anything in that split second,” Jayden said. “To make it beautiful and to show the world that this is what life is. It is a life worth living.”

Jayden said he’s heartbroken at the loss of his father after Sunday night’s protest. Police said Francois was murdered when three black males tried to carjack him at 46th and Warwick. He was shot three times and died at the scene.

“For him to go out that way — it’s hard. It’s really hard,” Jayden said.

After his death, misinformation spread through social media that he was killed by a police sniper. Based on witness statements, the family said this narrative is untrue.

KCPD said in a statement, their officers had nothing to do with the shooting and arrived on the scene to start first aid on Francois.

Jayden said Sunday his dad spent the day documenting history.

“I noticed that his theme when he took the photos, even before he edited out the ones that he wanted,” Jayden said, “all of them were photos of a message, and all of those were photos of kinship between everybody.”

It was a message of protesters, police and a new mayor connecting with his community. The photos show people holding signs of positivity, posing with police, speaking their truth, and Mayor Lucas in a spontaneous portrait.

Lucas sat down with FOX4 in his first one-on-one interview in months. He said violent crime still sits in the shadow behind the pressing issues of an ongoing pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests.

“This isn’t about the tear gas. This isn’t about interactions with officers,” Lucas said. “It’s about having a voice, and the photos he took showed people, particularly black people, having a voice, standing up and making a change.”

Lucas said he remembers Francois from the protest. He said they didn’t talk, but he saw him taking photos. He could tell he was doing it because he cared and not because he needed to make a deadline.

“It is heartbreaking to have been so close to someone so recently and to see his life end that night. It shouldn’t be that way, and his family shouldn’t have to deal with that,” Lucas said.

“It was just somebody who was trying to catch you in your element, and that speaks to the talent that he was as an artist, and I hope that as time goes on his family is comfortable to share so many of these pieces of art.”

Francois is the 75th homicide of 2020 in Kansas City. Lucas said behind every person who has lost their life to violent crime, each of their lives matter.

“I hope wherever we go in our current moment in Kansas City and our country, we don’t forget about the fact that we need to make a world where these people can expect to live to old age as well,” Lucas said.

“Be neighborly. Be a good father. Be a good friend. No matter who they are, help them,” Jayden said. “This is a place where we all live, and we can only make it better together.”

Francois’ son said his father’s phone was taken when he was killed. He’s asking whoever has it to please return it because the photos are something he can still hold onto.

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