After someone attacked Kevin M. Mashburn from behind, splitting open his skull, the AT&T technician managed to pull himself into his service truck and radio for help early Wednesday.
He called a co-worker, who told him to turn on the truck’s flashing light and drive to a populated area where someone could see him, family members said Wednesday.
Police and paramedics soon arrived, just after 3 a.m., and found Mashburn unconscious inside his truck in the 2700 block of Northeast 57th Terrace in Gladstone. He was rushed to a hospital, where he died, said police Capt. Jeff Self.
The Metro Squad has been activated, said Self, who did not release other details about the assault. No arrests had been made Wednesday.
Family members said Mashburn was making tower repairs in a Gladstone neighborhood when someone walked up behind and struck his head with a heavy metal object. He apparently was not robbed, they said, as nothing appeared to have been taken.
“This was senseless and there was no need for anything like this to happen,” said the victim’s oldest son, Bill Mashburn. “He would’ve gladly offered a hand to anyone.”
In a written statement, AT&T officials said, “We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Kevin Mashburn, a dedicated AT&T employee for more than 40 years. Kevin will be greatly missed by all of us at AT&T. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and co-workers at this time of great loss. AT&T is fully cooperating with authorities in their investigation.”
Mashburn, a lifelong Kansas City resident, began working for Southwestern Bell, which later became AT&T, during his senior year at Westport High School in 1971. He had worked a variety of jobs but most recently, he was a systems technician and had worked the midnight to 8 a.m. shift for 15 years.
Barbara Mashburn said they married 33 years ago and have four children and a 10-month-old granddaughter.
“He was the young man from up the street,” Barbara Mashburn recalled. She was attracted to his smile. They had many of the same friends and shared the same interest in muscle cars that were popular during the 1970s, she said.
“Kevin never met a stranger, and every friend he made became a family member,” Barbara Mashburn said. “If you needed any help, you could count on Kevin to be there to help.”
The Mashburns attended Visitation Catholic Church and have lived in the same Brookside neighborhood for 30 years. Mashburn was a Boy Scout leader, a member of the Tribe of Mic-O-Say and helped his sons become Eagle Scouts.
As a youth, Mashburn also had earned his Eagle Scout, said Barbara Mashburn.
He was active in the telecommunications union and the Telephone Pioneers of America volunteer group, she said.
The evening before Mashburn died, he and his wife took a friend who was visiting from Colorado to see the Kansas City Royals play.
Barbara Mashburn called her husband’s death “a tragic loss for everyone who knew him.”
Bill Mashburn described his father as “the biggest computer nerd ever.” He frequently repaired computers for his family and friends and often spent his own money to purchase replacement equipment and software for them, his son said.
“I am sure if the guy who assaulted him needed $20, he would’ve forked it over and sent him on his way,” Bill Mashburn said.
Police ask anyone with information about the case to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (474-8477).