UPDATE (2/13/19) – At approximately 2:30pm, two persons of interest were taken in to custody in regard to the homicide. Their names will be released after charges are filed.
KANSAS CITY – After a 15-year-old girl was shot and killed outside Central Academy of Excellence Tuesday night, many in the community are seeking answers to end the violence.
The incident occurred Tuesday, February 12 at approximately 8:15 p.m. Officers were called to the school in regard to a shooting. Upon arrival, officers located a shooting victim, a 15-year-old black female in the parking lot.
She was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead. Witnesses say the suspect, a black female in her late teens, and the victim were involved in a disturbance during a basketball game that was going on inside the school.
The suspect was escorted out of the school by security. A few minutes later, the victim exited the school at which time the suspect shot her. The suspect fled the scene in a grey or light blue minivan.
At a press conference Wednesday, KCPS Superintendent Dr. Mark Bedell addressed the issue of gun violence in the community.
“Gun violence is not a KCPS problem,” Dr. Bedell said. “Gun violence is a community illness that is impacting the ability of our public schools to improve and thrive.”
According to a statement from KCPS, Dr. Bedell emphasized that the safety and security of students, staff and visitors are always the top priorities of KCPS. He reviewed the commitment made by KCPS to address the impact of criminal violence on students and staff.
“We have made significant investments in time, talent and money in order to make our schools safe and secure havens for our students, and to address the social and emotional challenges that make it more difficult for our students to learn,” Dr. Bedell said.
This commitment includes developing an innovative system of trauma-informed support and education in classrooms and schools. KCPS has also reformed its discipline system in order to end the school-to-prison pipeline.
Dr. Bedell emphasized that KCPS stands in solidarity with others in the community who are working to end gun violence and other criminal violence in Kansas City.
“KCPS cannot by itself cure the illness of gun violence,” Dr. Bedell said. “We can only try to lessen the bleeding. The cure will have to be developed by the entire community working together.”
KCPS has already taken a number of important steps to address the issue. This includes an extensive mentorship program for students, plus valuable partnerships with the Kansas City Police Department, churches, faith-based organizations, and other organizations that help teach young people how to deal with conflict without resorting to violence.
Anyone with information is urged to call the TIPS Hotline at 816.474.8477.