Timothy M. Riley had developmental disabilities that limited his employment opportunities, but not his desire to work.
By CHRISTINE VENDEL
The Kansas City Star
For the past year, the 38-year-old Riley worked one day a week as a maintenance man for a Kansas City day care center.
After his shift Wednesday, he put $40 in cash in his wallet and hopped on a city bus.
But he never made it home to his grandma’s house.
He was killed in a street robbery just before 1 p.m. in the 4100 block of South Benton Boulevard.
His relatives speculated that someone either saw his cash or knew it was his payday and robbed him.
He was short and could have looked like an easy mark, relatives said. In reality, Riley was as “strong as an ox.”
Riley refused to give up his money and fought back, police said, until the robber shot him. Relatives said the robber then went through Riley’s pockets and stole his money.
The killing was a “punch in the gut,” said his grandmother Joyce Riley, who started an anti-violence group after another grandson was killed in 2003.
“He didn’t deserve it. Not him.”
Tim, as he was known, attended a state school for disabled students and worked for years at Blue Valley Industries, a nonprofit organization that employs disabled people, Joyce Riley said.
He couldn’t read, write or follow detailed directions. He once tried a job at Gates Bar-B-Q but found it too challenging, Joyce Riley said.
But he was good with his hands. He performed odd jobs for neighbors, mowing grass or picking up trash.
He liked having some independence. He would ride the city bus and liked to walk around the city. Relatives aren’t sure why he was on South Benton the day he was killed.
Relatives said he had struggled with drug use in the past, but they weren’t aware of any recent troubles.
Tim Riley loved animals and kids, hanging out in his backyard and watching karate movies.
“He probably could tell you the name of every karate movie ever made,” Joyce Riley said.
She urged anyone with information to come forward and ignore the pressure to “not snitch.”
“That lets these thugs take the power from you,” she said. “Don’t let anybody take your power.”
Anyone with information can call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).
To reach Christine Vendel, call 816-234-4438 or send email to email@example.com.