After a gunman pumped eight bullets into KáVyea Curry’s car at a Kansas City gas station Friday night, killing Curry and badly wounding his 10-year-old son, people scattered.
One of the witnesses, who had fled to protect her children, immediately returned to 4501 Cleveland Ave. because she had seen two kids in Curry’s car.
“I had to go back,” she later told relatives of the 10-year-old, according to new details released by those relatives Tuesday.
She checked for a pulse on Curry in the driver’s seat. He had none. She then tried to coax Curry’s son out of the front passenger seat, not knowing the boy had been shot twice.
“I can’t move,” he told her.
“C’mon,” the woman pleaded. “You need to get out of the car.”
“No,” he said. “I can’t move my legs.”
The boy didn’t know why his legs had quit working. He just wanted to call his mom. But a bullet had shattered his phone, so he asked the woman to call his mother.
Just a few minutes earlier, the boy had been in the gas station with Curry and a 5-year-old boy, the child of a family friend, to buy Skittles, gummy bears, a candy bar and juice. They were planning to attend a family birthday party on Saturday.
Instead, after a hooded gunman unleashed a fusillade of bullets into Curry’s car, the boy has no father and his future remains uncertain.
Bullets struck the boy’s hand, breaking two fingers, and his side, penetrating his lung and hitting his spine.
Although doctors now believe the boy may walk again someday, his condition has worsened in recent days, with a fever, increased pain and a collapsed, infected lung. He can’t breathe on his own, and thick fluid must be regularly suctioned from his lungs.
On Sunday, the boy pressed the button for pain medicine 68 times, begging for relief. On Monday afternoon, as doctors inserted the suction tube into his throat, tears streamed down his face.
“The hardest part was seeing him crying silently like that,” said his aunt, Ky Martin. “He wasn’t able to say a word; the tears were just flowing.”
On Tuesday, the boy hadn’t opened his eyes all day, but he did smile once, Martin said, when the nurse visited and told him she wasn’t going to poke or prod him.
Hospital employees have had to restrain his arms so he doesn’t yank the ventilator tube from his throat or the feeding tube from his nose. He suffers painful muscle spasms, but doctors are reluctant to treat them until his breathing improves. Doctors plan to perform surgery on his hand once his condition stabilizes. They also plan to order a custom body cast that he will have to wear to support his back until he is 18 years old.
“It is definitely life-changing for him and” his mother, said Martin, who described her nephew as very bright.
She said he loved to read and recite random facts he had learned to relatives. He also was known as a jokester who jumped into photos unexpectedly, a practice known as “photo bombing.” And he adored his father.
Meanwhile, police don’t know who shot into the car or why. Detectives have received just three tips in the case, a disappointment for them considering the innocent boy was so badly wounded.
Police think the gunman saw the children and fired into the car anyway. Curry “had just walked to the car with the kids,” said homicide detective Alane Booth. “He had just finished pumping gas and was getting into his car. He hadn’t even closed his door yet.”
Curry didn’t have a gun, Booth said, just his son’s overnight bag and the candy he had purchased.
The case represents a depressing deja vu for Booth, who also got very little cooperation from witnesses in the killing of a woman and her 3-year-old daughter last year.
“When I realized no one was wanting to cooperate in the homicide of a 3-year-old, I feared that the violent offenders would realize they have the citizens in a chokehold,” she said. “No one is fighting back. And here we are, another innocent child with life-changing injuries, with no one to call dad … and still no one speaks up.”
Martin, who is planning to open a fund at a bank to help pay for her nephew’s medical expenses, hopes someone will come forward with information.
“There were people who saw that man,” she said. “They were outside their cars! Then they just scattered.”