Natasha Hays, a mother of three killed in a drive-by shooting Tuesday in Kansas City, Kan., was known as a hard-working parent.
She was also a cousin to the famous singer Janelle Monáe, a Kansas City, Kan., native who performed at the White House on Independence Day.
Monáe took to Twitter on Wednesday to mourn Hays and lament gun violence in her hometown.
Monáe, who has been nominated for several Grammy awards and is signed to her own record company, Wondaland Records, has said her hometown inspired her work. The Star interviewed Monáe in 2014.
“I went back to Kansas City after my tour for my debut album The ArchAndroid,” Monáe wrote on her website. “And when I looked around me, I decided I wanted to make a raw, revealing album all about my life and the things I’d experienced in my community — about the laughter in the parks, the jams bumping in the cars, the jokes told over kitchen tables, all the life and warmth and struggles I felt there. But I also wanted to figure out how to take Kansas City to the future … like a surreal Parliament album with lyrics by Octavia Butler and album art by Salvador Dali.”
Monáe’s cousin Hays was reportedly working as a caregiver while living in Kansas City, Kan., where she was raising three teenagers.
Hays died when gunfire rang out about 3:45 a.m. Tuesday in the 2400 block of North Ninth Street. Police said three others were inside the house at the time but were not hurt.
After the shooting, family members said they were still trying to piece together what had happened. To the best of their knowledge, Hays was sleeping at the time of the shooting.
The Kansas City, Kan., Police Department’s Major Case Unit was investigating the homicide and asked anyone with information about the shooting to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).