The Westport robbers who killed Zach Pearce and left him dying in his boyfriend’s arms fled with their wallets, cell phones and an absurdly small amount of cash.
“But they took our whole world,” Riley Simmons said. “They took my future. They took my best friend.”
Simmons had been together with the 24-year-old Pearce since March, he said, and, “I’d never been as close to anybody in my life.”
“I loved him so much.”
Simmons cried with grief, but he wanted to encourage the police investigators and plead for the public’s help in providing information.
Pearce and Simmons were walking home late Sunday night after a meal and some drinks when a gunman stopped them in the 100 block of East 40th Street.
Pearce, who had been robbed before, tried to calm the gunman down and both he and Simmons complied and gave up their wallets and cellphones.
But the gunman fired on them and fled, fatally wounding Pearce.
The man ran to a dark-colored SUV. He saw a woman driving and another man in the SUV. Simmons said the gunman appeared to have dark skin, short hair and wore a hoodie.
“I can’t believe it happened,” Simmons said. “We walked there a thousand times. Westport was the place we could go and not worry about things.”
Friends of Pearce have started a Facebook page — Justice for Zach — to help share information and to help keep attention on the case.
Friends also have set up a GoFundMe.com page to support Pearce’s family.
The family operates a climbing inflatables business, the Giggles-N-Jiggles Family Fun Center in Blue Springs, and Pearce helped run the business. He’d been working there earlier Sunday evening before returning to Westport.
Pearce never was a fan of gushing emotions, Simmons said, and the fun-loving but humble Pearce probably wouldn’t want to see so much fuss made over him, he said.
“But I want everyone to know how amazing he was,” Simmons said.
Police say the investigation is continuing. They have asked property owners around the scene in the 100 block of East 40th Street to let police know if they have any outdoor surveillance cameras that might have picked up clues.
Anyone with information can contact the Kansas City police homicide unit, 816-234-5043, or the TIPS Hotline, 816-474-TIPS (8477).