Nine-year-old’s death by stray bullet: ‘It’s the worst nightmare’

Dominic Young Jr.
Dominic Young Jr.

Nine-year-old Dominic Young Jr. spent most of Saturday roller skating, bowling and playing video games with his dad and his extended family.

But for reasons that make no sense to his family, he didn’t make it home alive.

Dominic died Saturday night, apparently hit by a stray bullet in Kansas City as his father drove him and his younger brother to his home in Grandview, according to Dominic’s great-grandmother, Denise McCraney.

It was the second time in 10 years the family lost a loved one to a stray bullet, she said.

“It’s the worst nightmare we can imagine,” McCraney said. “All I’m thinking is I’m going to wake up and find out this isn’t real.”

The car Dominic’s father was driving was hit by gunfire from two other vehicles that were engaged in a gunfight near Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard and U.S. 71, the father of five later told police.

Kansas City police are investigating the shooting and said Sunday they found a possible crime scene near the intersection where the father said the shooting happened. As of Monday evening, police had not released the name of the victim in the shooting but the family has identified him publicly.

Police asked anyone with information to call the Kansas City Police Department Homicide Unit or the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.

For Dominic, the day had begun with a family function at a skating rink with about 50 members of the extended family gathering for no special reason other than to have a good time, McCraney said. Afterward, Dominic’s father took his sons and some other children bowling, and then to a relative’s house to play video games.

When it was time to go home, the father drove his two sons home to Grandview. Before they drove onto U.S. 71, they came under fire.

The father initially thought he was the target, but was confused because he had no enemies, McCraney said. He later thought the shooting was between two other vehicles.

As the father drove onto the highway headed south, it seemed to him that Dominic and his younger brother were both still alive and talking, McCraney said. But when the father arrived home in Grandview and lifted Dominic out of the car, the boy’s body was limp. Dominic was the second-oldest of the five children.

Grandview police initially responded to the father’s home and found the boy in critical condition. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

The family is scheduled to hold a press conference Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. at the office of KC Mothers in Charge. The anti-violence group has asked anyone with information to step forward and help solve the case, and McCraney said she supports that message even though it’s too late to save Dominic.

“Even if it wasn’t my great-grandson, think of whoever they were shooting at; they could have killed them,” she said.

Saturday wasn’t the first time the family has been devastated by a stray bullet, McCraney said. A little less than nine years ago, in August 2009, her oldest son was killed as an innocent bystander to a shootout in the 3500 block of Wayne Avenue.

Larry Parker, 45, had just returned home from work and was sitting on the front porch of his house with his fiancee and two young children. According to police, the bullet that killed him came from a gunfight between two groups of young men down the street.