Northeast street vendor on the road to recovery after robbery

Abby Hoover
Managing Editor

When beloved Northeast street vendor Roberto Govea was shot and robbed near Scarritt and Oakley on the evening of Wednesday, July 8, the community was in shock that someone would target such a caring and hardworking individual.

When the shock wore off however, friends and family sprang into action. A GoFundMe page was organized to raise funds for the family and to help with medical expenses.

According to organizer Jennifer Valdez, Govea has a heart of gold and, “is well known in the community for selling popsicles on foot from a cart for over 12 years.”

As of Thursday morning, September 3, the donations had reached $16,598, exceeding the $10,000 goal, a testament to the giving spirit of the Historic Northeast Community.

According to police, officers were dispatched to the 100 block of North Drury on a reported shooting. The victim, a Hispanic male, indicated that a Black male wearing a white shirt and black pants attempted to rob him of his money.

The initial call went out for the area of Scarritt and Oakley Avenues, where the robbery and shooting allegedly had taken place.

Govea managed to push his cart almost five blocks before he collapsed. He was transported to a local hospital in critical condition, and was later upgraded to stable.

Since then, Govea has returned home to recover.

Daniel Guzman, Independent Living Specialist at Mattie Rhodes Center who has worked with Roberto for 12 years now, has been in contact with Govea and was able to provide an update after one of his recent home visits.

“Roberto’s sister helped him to fill out necessary documents to get the money raised from the Go Fund Me page a couple of days ago,” Guzman said. “They should be getting it during the first part of September.”

Govea has not been able to use his arm, which still hurts. His fingers remain swollen from the injury. However, doctors tell him that the pain will go away eventually.

The hospital bill was $23,000, which prompted Govea to apply for emergency Medicare to help pay for it. A social worker from the hospital is trying to get funds to cover some expenses due to him being a victim of a crime.

Guzman reported that Govea will not return to selling paletas.

“We have not had any additional updates in that case,” KCPD Public Information Officer Jake Becchina said. “Detectives continue to search for witnesses in this case and for evidence.”

There is a reward up to $2,000 for information in this case. Those with information can submit tips anonymously at (816) 474-TIPS.

“As always, supplement reward contributions can be added by families, businesses or other interested parties,” KCPD Detective Kevin Boehm said.

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