Grocery bags filled with Lunchables and bottles of water swung from her arms as Jannine Owens approached the crime scene tape Sunday morning, the result of another instance of gun violence in Kansas City.
Owens, 40, handed the bags off to another woman, who walked across Linwood Boulevard and passed the contents of the bags to the young children of a woman who, less than two hours earlier, was gunned down inside a Kansas City home.
Around 10 a.m., police were dispatched to the 4300 block of East Linwood Boulevard on a call of a shooting. When officers arrived, they found a woman who had been fatally shot inside of a residence, Capt. Leslie Foreman, a spokeswoman with the Kansas City Police Department, said at the scene.
As members of the woman’s family clutched babies and one another, Owens said she had been in their position before.
“We wake up to too much of this,” Owens said, adding that she lost two stepsons to gun violence in Kansas City, as well as one of her son’s aunts, whom she said was shot while picking up a coworker.
The woman killed has not yet been publicly identified by police. But Owens, as well as family members at the scene said the victim was the mother of three school-age children.
“I know how it is to lose a loved one, but to lose a mother ... “ Owens said, trailing off as she looked over at the children. “These babies going to need some counseling.”
Just before noon, Foreman said they did not yet have any suspect information available, but that they assumed the suspect had fled. Detectives and crime scene investigators worked the scene, knocking on neighbors’ doors and talking to family. Family and friends said the victim’s mother, sisters and grandfather were among those gathered around the tape.
“She’s gone,” a woman sobbed nearby. “She’s gone.”
Other members of the community gathered across the street from the family, including a man who stopped by the scene when he noticed the wide swath of police lights up and down Linwood Boulevard.
“There’s too much killing out here,” he said to no one in particular as he walked up the sidewalk.
Owens’ home, a few houses down from the killing, was also blocked off in the crime scene. She said her son, 14, was asleep inside when the shooting happened.
The bullets could have hit her child, she said, rapping her hand against her chest.
“They didn’t ask for this,” she said of her child, and those on her block who are now motherless. “They didn’t ask for this violence to be around them, point blank period.”
Owens said she is involved in a couple anti-violence groups in Kansas City. When she heard the news this morning, and noticed that the temperature was inching toward 90 degrees, she figured the kids would at least need some extra water. While in line to check out at the Family Dollar, she ran into another community member who gave her a few dollars to put toward the care packages for the kids.
“I’ve got family first, and that’s part of my family at the end of the day,” Owens said. “They’re not blood, but they’re my street family.”
Sunday’s homicide marked the 68th homicide of the year in Kansas City, according to data maintained by The Star. Last year, Kansas City suffered the highest number of homicides in the city’s history, recording 182.
Police ask if anyone saw anything, or has any information that they call the KCPD homicide unit at 234-5043 or the tips hotline anonymously at 474-TIPS. There is a reward of up to $25,000 for information that leads to an arrest.