Crime

Family of Overland Park teen shot and killed Friday raises money to stop gun violence

Rowan Padgett liked hooded sweatshirts and owned an impressive collection of them.

After he was killed, his mother Semie Rogers gave some of them to friends who visited Rowan’s greiving parents at their Overland Park home.

Rowan, a 17-year-old Olathe East High School senior, was found shot about 5 p.m. Friday in the 12300 block of South Mullen Court in Olathe. He died at the scene.

Rogers said giving away the sweatshirts to her son’s friends was helping her heal.

“I have been letting them have his hoodies so they could have something to remember him by because I much rather have them go to a place where they will be loved and where he will be remembered,” Rogers said Tuesday.

Rowan had plans for his immediate future, his mother said. He didn’t plan to attend college but had mapped a career in sales. He created a Llinkedin profile and began working with a career coach.

Colonial Life Insurance offered him a job and agreed to pay for his sales training. He would take an insurance exam, his mother said.

”He was a people person. He loved talking to people and he loved talking people into doing stuff.”

Rowan and his friends once convinced a golf course manager to allow them the use of a golf cart for free. He and his buddies took the cart joyriding around the golf course in the middle of the night.

“He liked to persuade people into doing things and thought he would put that to good use,” Rogers said. “He was very charming and very funny.”

Rogers said she doesn’t know what happened to her son on Friday. No charges have been filed in his killing.

She knows Rowan went out with friends after school. There was nothing that hinted at trouble.

The parents learned from a friend of Rowan that their son had been shot. Police told them he died.

Days later, Rogers described her feelings as “stunned, disbelief, just absolute shock, just absolute horror.”

“If it is my kid, it could be anybody’s kid,” she said. “Rowan was a really wonderful and funny person with a bright future who really wasn’t doing anything worse than any other kid or a lot kids do. And he should still be alive.”

The family has set up an online memorial fundraiser on Facebook. Proceeds will go to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. By Tuesday afternoon, the memorial had raised $8,896 towards its $10,000 goal.

Rogers said something needs to be done to reduce gun violence and keep weapons out of the hands of teens.

“We are out here in one of the safest, wealthiest counties in the country and the gun violence has reached us and it is not fair for any mother in any county in the country to have to go through this,” she said. “It’s terrible for any family.”

During the investigation of Rowan’s killing, Olathe police named as a person of interest 18-year-old Matthew Bibee Jr., who is now facing criminal charges in a separate case in which he is accused of shooting at a police officer.

Rogers said she does not know Bibee or if there was any connection to her son.

Johnson County prosecutors on Tuesday charged Bibee with attempted capital murder, attempted first degree murder, attempted aggravated robbery, battery against a law enforcement officer and battery.

None of the criminal charges appear to be related to Padgett’s killing.

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Glenn E. Rice covers crime, courts and breaking news for The Kansas City Star, where he’s worked since 1988. Rice is a Kansas City native and a graduate of the University of Central Missouri.
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