Two families in a Blue Springs community riven by gun violence are pleading for peace after a weekend triple shooting left a 17-year-old dead and a 15-year-old fighting for his life with critical injuries.
“I just pray for everybody,” Dion Cullors, the father of slain teenager Jayden Lockett, told a crowd of mourners at a vigil in sub-freezing temperatures at Rotary Park this week.
“We need to come together,” he said. “I never thought that I would be talking on stuff like this. My son is gone and I don’t know how to feel. Let’s not come together again for another kid getting killed over senseless stuff.”
Jayden, a Blue Springs South High School student, was fatally shot Saturday at a home in the 1200 block of Southwest Sunset Street. A 15-year-old Blue Springs youth in another family suffered life-threatening gunshot wounds and remains in critical condition.
The 15-year-old’s paternal grandmother, Diane DeJean, also spoke out this week, anguished over the loss of life and urging peace.
“Hearts are broken and anxious,” she said. “Sadly, this is a lose-lose situation.”
“I want them (Jayden’s family) to know that our hearts go out to them for their loss,” DeJean said. The emotions running through the community strike “like that pebble in the water,” she said. “But it’s not a hopeful thing. It’s a terrible thing. It shoots out all over the place.”
The pain showed on the faces of the crowd that gathered Tuesday night, their cold hands holding candles to remember Jayden.
Jayden’s older brother Dion Cullors Jr. read a poem for the group, honoring the “best little brother anyone could ask for.”
“Me watching over you is over with. It’s your turn to watch over me,” his brother read. “Yeah, I lost a brother, but I gained a guardian angel.”
One of Jayden’s classmates, Isis Bonds, said the last time she saw Jayden, they smiled and waved in the school parking lot. The two shared the same theater class.
“I didn’t think that’d be the last time I saw him. We smiled back and waved. We had known each other since freshman year, and the only regret I have is not getting closer to him sooner because he was such a beautiful person, such a good person and caring,” Bonds said.
“He touched so many people’s lives and I don’t even think he knew it.”
DeJean, the grandmother of the injured 15-year-old, said her family has felt the fear, anger and sadness in the community and on social media.
“My hope and prayer,” she said, “is that through the healing process those involved will realize how much their choices affect the lives of those around them and begin to piece their lives together in a positive and meaningful way.”
A third victim in the shooting, a 19-year-old, was wounded in the elbow. He was treated at a hospital and released.
Sunday police had announced they were investigating a “person of interest.” By Tuesday police went on to say the person of interest was not one of the victims inside the house.
“We are continuing interviews with everyone we can at this point,” said Jennifer Dachenhausen, a Blue Springs police spokeswoman. “Our hearts go out to all impacted by this incident.”