KANSAS CITY, Mo — The Marching Cobras Drill Team is an institution in Kansas City. It was started to give children something to do so they would not be victims of the street. But their members are not immune to the violence plaguing Kansas City.
If you grew up in Kansas City or have been around for any amount of time, you know by the sound of beating drums that the Cobras are near. It’s a tight knit group, founded in 1969 as a way to use music to keep kids off of the street.
Friday night, violence claimed the life of its 19-year-old drum captain Lionell Hamilton.
“He’s traveled all over the world with the Cobras, you know, and it’s hard, it’s hard,” said emotional drillmaster Don Daughtry.
Officers responded to the sound of gunshots just after 9 p.m. Friday where they found Hamilton shot dead on East 43rd Street near Blue Ridge Boulevard. Right away, Daughtry got a call that Hamilton had been shot
“I ran to the scene, got there. You know, I was waiting around trying to see what happened?” Daughtry said. “This is hard. He was a dedicated member and he was like a son.”
FOX4 spoke to Hamilton in May 2019, when the FOX4 Band of Angels surprised the Cobras with new drums. It was a proud moment for Hamilton, who started to play drums at 3-years-old and became a leader on the Cobras as the drum captain.
“It was out of the blue, I ain’t think nothing of it. I just keep working hard,” Hamilton said of the surprise.
A hard worker is how Daughtry remembers Hamilton, who never missed a practice. In preparation for a show last week, Hamilton told his drillmaster that he wanted to make up the show.
“He said, ,We got it’. I said, ,Wow. OK’. So, that Wednesday I’ll let him take over and he made up a nice show,” Daughtry said.
It’s a tough loss for the Cobras who will continue on, with their drum captain leading them in spirit.
There will be a balloon release at the YMCA on Linwood Boulevard on Friday at 6 p.m. to honor Hamilton.
If you know anything that can help police catch his killers call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.