Family of slain Grandview man bears no ill will toward two boys arrested

07/12/2014 8:44 PM

07/12/2014 8:44 PM

The widow of a Grandview man — he died trying to convince a gun-wielding teen to give up his weapon — said Saturday she bears no ill will toward the two boys arrested in her husband’s death.

“They were two naive children,” Sabrina Moody said at a community rally where her husband, Gregory “Pops” Moody, was honored as a hero and an inspiration.

Sabrina Moody fought back tears and declined to speak to the crowd of about 50 people who gathered at the Clymer Center, 13th and Vine streets, for an event sponsored by Harvest Connection Church and Milestone Youth Center.

But she and her 18-year-old son, Anthony Winningham, said in an interview that they hope the suspects in Moody’s death, 13 and 14, get the help they need in the juvenile justice system.

Moody said she would not wish adult prison on them and hopes a time will come when they “can get their lives started.”

“They’re still young, so they can be taught,” Winningham said.

To the crowd, Winningham said he was thankful for all the years he shared with his father, known as a mentor for young people in their Grandview neighborhood.

“He was the greatest man I’ve ever known,” he said, adding that Moody stopped a bullet that might otherwise have killed someone else.

Gregory Moody, 41, was shot late on June 30 in the 6300 block of 127th Street in Grandview. Sabrina Moody said at the time that her husband was trying to defuse a fight between two groups of teens.

He confronted an armed teen and urged him to give up the weapon, saying he didn’t need a gun to solve anything. According to a witness, the youth shot Moody and the boys fled. Two boys later were arrested.

Moody, a carpenter known as “Pops” for trying to help kids in the neighborhood, died at a hospital shortly after the incident.

It was that example of personal sacrifice and the family’s magnanimity that prompted the Rev. John Birmingham of Harvest Connection Church to include the tribute in Saturday’s community anti-crime rally.

“I was so impressed with the young man’s endeavor to be a role model to the youth,” said Birmingham, who lives in Grandview and visited Moody’s widow and four children.

“My heart went out to them,” Birmingham, noting he didn’t want Moody’s sacrifice to be in vain.

Birmingham and the Rev. Mike Bobbitt of Milestone Youth Center presented the family with a plaque that said in part, “He was one of the people who had great love for others.”

As onlookers applauded the family, Birmingham also urged the crowd to be inspired by Moody’s example of bravery and to try to be part of the solution to Kansas City’s crime and violence.

To reach Lynn Horsley, call 816-226-2058 or send email to lhorsley@kcstar.com.

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