‘Perfectly innocent’: Police say 12-year-old boy killed in Leavenworth shooting was not intended target


LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — A 25-year-old man and 17-year-old boy are charged with shooting and killing a 12-year-old Kansas City boy in Leavenworth Wednesday night.  

It happened just before 7 p.m. in a pharmacy parking lot along a busy road. 

Minutes before Kare Pharmacy on South Fourth Street closed for the night Wednesday, gunfire erupted in the parking lot. When police arrived, no victims or witnesses were anywhere to be found. 

“They did find evidence of shooting, some shell casings at the scene. It was about an hour later we received communication from our partners at the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department that a young boy, 12-year-old, had arrived with his family at the hospital and was pronounced dead there from apparent multiple gunshot wounds,” said Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens. 

Police are convinced the child was not the intended target. He was in a car with relatives when the suspects started firing. 

“It’s very clear that this young person was perfectly innocent, in the wrong place at the wrong time and suffered a terrible loss of life here,” Kitchens said. 

 The reckless shooting put others passing by in danger, too. Bullets also pierced a car driving down 4th Street, with a six-month-old baby inside. 

“Just an absolutely awful circumstance that was terrible and very luckily not made worse,” Kitchens said. 

Surveillance video from the pharmacy quickly led police to a neighborhood on South 12th Street. Neighbors watched nervously as SWAT surrounded a duplex. 

 “It kind of made me scared,” one neighbor said. 

The neighbor, who didn’t want to share her name, had no idea police were searching for a suspected killer. 

“My mom had the back door open, calling for the cat, what if he would’ve came right in my house, then what?” she said. 

The Leavenworth County prosecutor has charged 25-year-old Darvon Thomas with first-degree felony murder. A 17-year-old is also charged with murder and firing into an occupied vehicle. A 15-year-old was also arrested but so far, has not been charged. 

The community is heartbroken a young life was cut short so senselessly. 

“It is just awful,” a neighbor said. 

The teenager charged appeared by video before a judge Thursday afternoon. Thomas, who previously spent time in prison for robbery, is scheduled to be in court Friday. 

The young victim hasn’t been publicly identified.  

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