Sharrieff Omar Muhammad loved his community and often found ways to express that affection by helping strangers or offering a word of encouragement to his young relatives or siblings.
Muhammad would proclaim, “There is more to life than being in the streets. There is more to life than drinking and doing drugs,” his sister, Kameelah Muhammad, recalled on Monday.
The 37-year-old Independence resident was found fatally shot Friday morning in the backyard of a residence in the 1600 block of West 24th Terrace. Police said he died from multiple gunshot wounds.
Relatives said they have no idea who and why someone would shoot Muhammad, a self-employed tattoo artist who operated his fledgling business in the basement of his home.
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“He’s not a violent person,” said Kameelah Muhammad. “He is not a street person.”
On Monday, Independence police said they were looking for a 26-year-old Kansas City man who may be connected to the shooting.
Muhammad was raised in Kansas City and was the oldest of six siblings. He graduated from the Manual Career and Technical Center. After graduation, Muhammad briefly attended Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley.
He had various jobs before deciding to open a tattoo parlor.
Sharrieff Muhammad was an artist who parlayed his drawing talents into giving tattoos. He also wanted to launch his own clothing line.
“On his Facebook page, his clients and anyone who had interacted with him had the same stories as his siblings had that he was always about uplifting and pushing people to their potential and reaching their goals,” said Kameelah Muhammad. “That is how he has always been.”
Recently, Muhammad was driving along either Troost or Paseo when he pulled over and helped a woman and her daughter who were having car problems.
“He always tried to uplift others,” she said.
Muhammad had no children and had never been married. He had a longtime girlfriend, whose son referred to Muhammad as his father, Kameelah Muhammad said.
Family members and loved ones are having a difficult time dealing with Muhammad’s death. His mother found out about her son’s death while she was hospitalized. Sharrieff Muhammad last spoke to their mother on Thursday.
“It is just devastating,” Kameelah Muhammad said. “When it happened, my 11-year-old son said, ‘I am never going to spend time with my uncle again.’ ”
“It is so hard. I can’t put it into words. It is so hard,” she said.
Muhammad was self-employed and did not have health insurance. The family set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral and other expenses.