Mary Schmitz, a 20-year-old woman caught in the crossfire of a violent confrontation, didn’t deserve what happened to her, several of her friends shared in a vigil Thursday night.
With candles lit and white and yellow balloons in hand, more than two dozen people gathered around Schmitz’s photo in Keystone Park in Blue Springs to celebrate the young woman’s life.
Friends described the 2016 Blue Springs High School grad as “an excellent listener” in times of need, and they condemned the gun violence that led to her death earlier this week.
Schmitz was fatally shot inside her apartment in the 1100 block of Quail Creek Drive in Independence early Tuesday morning.
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One day after the killing, the suspected shooter, an 18-year-old man identified as David A. Harris, was charged with second-degree murder.
The shooting also injured a 21-year-old man and killed a German shepherd belonging to Schmitz’s roommate, Chelsea Doss.
The two had worked together as waitresses. Before that, they attended the same high school. Doss, 21, graduated in 2015, a year before Schmitz.
“She was a good soul ... She always gave me the best advice,” Doss said. “It’s going to be hard going every day without her and not having her around anymore.”
Doss said she was asleep in her bedroom when she heard the gunshots inside the apartment that night. She hid in her closet, and soon after, she said she walked out to find her friend lying on the floor.
“There’s going to be justice for my best friend,” Doss said shortly before the group released balloons. “That’s all I care about is just getting justice for my best friend.”
Kiarra Brewer, 19, said she also met Schmitz through school and they became close friends the summer after high school, going on long car drives to talk and listen to music.
“She was really easy to talk to. She was super outgoing. She’s like one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet in your whole life,” Brewer said. “No matter what you had or what you didn’t have, she was there for you and she wanted to be friends with you. And she was just genuine, very genuine.”
“From the time I met Mary, she had this glow to her, just like this inner genuine glow that could just light up a room,” said another friend, Taylor Burford, 19. “That’s something you don’t see in a lot of people.”
“After I found out, it was devastating because she didn’t deserve that,” Brewer added, thinking of the way she died. “She deserved a lot more.”