Crime

18-year-old killed day before leaving for college remembered as hard-working, tenacious

Roosevelt Cooper, 18, remembered at Kansas City vigil

Roosevelt Cooper, a former all-state football player at Hogan Prep High, was tragically killed Thursday. His family, friends, and former coaches and teachers gathered at a vigil Friday, the day he was supposed to leave for college.
Up Next
Roosevelt Cooper, a former all-state football player at Hogan Prep High, was tragically killed Thursday. His family, friends, and former coaches and teachers gathered at a vigil Friday, the day he was supposed to leave for college.

On the day he was set to leave for college, an 18-year-old Hogan Preparatory Academy graduate was instead memorialized at the site of his death just one day prior.

Roosevelt Cooper, a 2017 Hogan Prep graduate, was shot and killed Thursday. The 18-year-old was found about 2:45 p.m. shot inside a car in the parking lot of the Save-A-Lot store at 3410 Troost Ave.

The store is near Troost and Armour Boulevard.

Police have not named the teen, but family members identified him shortly after the shooting.

Cooper planned to leave Friday for college at Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo. Instead family, friends, and former teammates, coaches and teachers attended a vigil for Cooper at the site of his death.

Kids like Cooper, a former coach said, are hard to find: hard-working, dedicated and tenacious.

Pip Dukes, an assistant basketball coach at Hogan Prep, described Cooper as a talented student-athlete who excelled at football and basketball. He was one of the first players to join Dukes’ traveling basketball program five years ago.

“I wish I had 12 of him,” Dukes said of Cooper. “He was just a tenacious kid.”

Roosevelt Cooper, a student and athlete at Hogan Prep Academy, talked with Cascade Media Group in this December 2015 video. The teenager was shot to death Thursday afternoon in the parking lot of a Kansas City grocery store. was He was set to leav

Blue and gold balloons, red roses, and white wax candles were prevalent at the vigil, along with several posters and T-shirts adorned with tributes to Cooper.

Grieving family members consoled one another, including Cooper’s mother, and grandmother, Denise Cooper, who thanked the community for their support over the last two days.

“It’s very heartwarming,” Denise Cooper said after the vigil.

A score of young people, almost all high-school or college-aged, stood stoically, trying to process what had happened the day before.

DaRon Davis, 18, was among them. Davis and Roosevelt Cooper had been friends since they were elementary age, Davis said. They spent years playing basketball together, including three seasons at Hogan Prep.

The two played ball together Monday and exchanged texts Tuesday, Davis said. That was the last time Davis spoke with his longtime friend.

“When my mom told me, I started breaking down,” Davis said. “I have no more tears to cry right now.”

Police were called to the store about 2:45 p.m. Thursday, according to Officer Darin Snapp, a Kansas City Police Department spokesman. A security guard told police he heard gunshots and found the victim dead in the car.

Witnesses told police two males were seen running west away from the area.

Police found a blood trail leading toward a nearby apartment building, Snapp said, and investigated that area.

According to witnesses, Cooper had spent part of the day saying goodbye to friends and was getting a haircut at Diamond Cuts Barber Shop near the Save-A-Lot when he was summoned outside to speak with someone. He never came back.

No updates on the case were provided Friday.

Tyrel Davis, 24, works at Diamond Cuts. He said Cooper’s death was stunning.

“All he wanted to do was go to school and play ball,” Davis said. “He was 24 hours away. It’s heartbreaking, man.”

Cooper’s athletic prowess was well-documented. Sports reporters from across Missouri had named him a second-team Class 3 all-state defensive back after the 2016 season.

Cooper played both offense and defense for Hogan Prep last season and was a member of the school’s basketball team.

He scored 24 points in the Missouri Class 3 boys basketball third place playoff game this past spring at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, which helped the team finish third in the state.

Cooper only played one year of varsity football as a senior, but was selected to the annual Kansas vs. Missouri High School All-Star Game sponsored by the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association.

Toriano Porter: 816-234-4779, @torianoporter

Related stories from Kansas City Star

  Comments