Leawood church honors homicide victims with striking display

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LEAWOOD, Kan. — Saturday’s homicides added to a tragically long list of more than 100 people murdered this year alone. As Christmas approaches, a Johnson County church is doing something to show the victim’s families they are not alone.

As cars head down State Line Road, drivers can’t help but see more than 100 white crosses, each with a name and a tragic story.

The metro is known for beautiful Christmas decorations. The lights on the plaza and the Christmas tree at the Crown Center but Leawood Baptist Church wants people to take note of this display too because it is what organizers say should matter most.

“That’s a lot of families; that’s a lot of hurt. That’s a lot of crime and a lot of violence. This is our city we have to solve this problem together,” local pastorJohn Mark Clifton said.

One cross bears the name of Amorian Hale, a 3 year old shot and killed while sleeping in his Kansas City bed. Another honors Alexis Kane, a 14 year old shot multiple times at a KCK water park. Their names are now etched among more than 100 others. The scene is a gut-wrenching sight after realizing each cross represents a life that was tragically cut short.

“This year especially has been a difficult year with all the murders in Kansas City. When everybody is having a great time in Kansas City, parties and pageants, we want the families who have lost people this year to murder to know they’re not forgotten and we care about them,” Clifton said.

“When you drive by, it’s more than just a piece of wood, it’s more than just a cross, it really represents a person. When you think of it that way, it’s very sobering to think about,” Leawood Baptist Senior Pastor Adam Carter said.

“We don’t want the number of homicides we have now to become normal. We’re here to come together across the state line to say we love this city, we love these families and we commit ourselves to making this city a safer and better place,” Clifton said.

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