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Community Grieves Over Shootings Of Kansas City, Kansas, Teens

Courtesy photo
Le'Andrew Vaughn family

Sixteen-year-old Adarius Barber was set to be a junior at Washington High School, where he was to have his first football practice on Monday.

His 17-year-old cousin, Le’Andrew M. Vaughn, was a promising baseball player, a rising senior at F.L. Schlagle High School. 

Both boys were college-bound, according to a spokesman for the Kansas City, Kansas, Public School District.

All that changed Sunday night. The two boys were killed when someone sprayed bullets into their car as they waited outside the home of a friend on the 6100 block of Haskell Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas.

Police say Vaughn died at the scene; Barber died later at a local hospital. A third victim was shot in the leg and survived, according to police. He was known to be a close friend of the two boys but has not yet been identified.

Cle Ross coached Vaughn at theBoys and Girls Club RBI summer and fall leaguefrom the time he was 9 years old. Ross says he was shocked to learn Vaughn had been involved in a shooting.

“He was one of the kids that was doing it right,” Ross says. “He was fortunate to have a good home, mother and father and was a committed student.”

As a high school senior, Vaughn had already received an academic scholarship to attend Wichita State University in 2018. He'd hoped to play for the nationally recognized Wichita State Shockers.

“He was gonna walk onto the baseball team," Ross says. "He was already covered when it came to his books because of his academic scholarship.” 

Tom Witter also coached Vaughn at RBI.  He said Vaughn probably knew he wasn't Major League Baseball material but saw the rigor and discipline of baseball as a tool for success.

"He was a good ballplayer and a good catcher, but I think the overwhelming thing (was) he had his act together," Witter says. "He was using (baseball) as teamwork and a learning mechanism to help further himself."

Vaughn's mother, Crystal Hayes, begged the community to end its culture of silence and asked those with any information about the killings to pass it on to police.

"We live in a world of technology," Hayes says. "Use it. I understand people's fear ... someone thinking I don't want them to come after me. But send police an email, text message. There's a lot of ways to get information to people."

A spokesman for the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department said Thursday there were no new details about the investigation. 

Laura Ziegler is a community engagement reporter and producer. Reach her on Twitter @laurazig or email lauraz@kcur.org

I partner with communities to uncover the ignored or misrepresented stories by listening and letting communities help identify and shape a narrative. My work brings new voices, sounds, and an authentic sense of place to our coverage of the Kansas City region. My goal is to tell stories on the radio, online, on social media and through face to face conversations that enhance civic dialogue and provide solutions.
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