Crime

‘Son, what was wrong with you?’: Relatives ask of shooter who killed Kansas City teen

‘What could they have done to you?’ Great grandparents speak after Zavien Hall killed in shooting

Emanuel and Jannie Hall's great grandchildren were victims of a shooting Wednesday evening. Zavien Hall, 17, was killed, and Jazmine Hall, 7, was injured after being shot six times.
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Emanuel and Jannie Hall's great grandchildren were victims of a shooting Wednesday evening. Zavien Hall, 17, was killed, and Jazmine Hall, 7, was injured after being shot six times.

Nearly every time Zavien Hall visited his great-grandparents home, he would take a seat at the dining room table and ask his great grandmother if she had prepared something for him to eat.

“He would say, ‘Grandma you ain’t cook nothing yet?’” Jannie Hall said Thursday. “Because I would always be cooking.”

Hall paused for a moment and said that’s what she’ll miss the most about Zavien.

Zavien, 17, was mortally wounded after gunfire broke out following an argument early Wednesday evening outside of a home at 44th Street and Cypress Avenue.

Bullets also struck his sister Jazmine Hall, 7, six times as she played nearby.

Officers responding to the shooting found Zavien lying in the front yard with several gunshot wounds. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The gunman fled in an unknown direction.

After the shots were fired, a neighbor chased the shooter but was unable to catch him, said LaShonda Jacoway, who lives nearby.

Relatives rushed Jazmine to a hospital, where she was listed Thursday evening in stable condition.

“Why did you shoot him? Why?” Hall said, speaking to the shooter. “You killed my great-grandson, for what reason? What could he have done to you that was so bad. What was it?”

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Relatives said Jazmine Hall, 7, was wounded six times when a gunman fatally shot her brother Zavien Hall following an argument in the 4400 block of Cypress Avenue. Family photo

After the shootings, officers canvassed the area and talked to potential witnesses. No arrests have been made.

“It has hit us very deeply,” Hall cried as she spoke about losing Zavien. “My granddaughter, a little person, 7 years old, you shot her six times. Son, what was wrong with you?”

“They picked her up and put her in the car and rushed her to the hospital and by the time the law got there Zavien had taken his last breath,” she said. “What could they have done to you?”

The killing was being investigated as Kansas City’s 93rd homicide this year, according to data kept by The Star. Police said it is likely another teen was the shooter but have not released a suspect description.

Zavien was a junior at Southeast High School. His sister attended Holliday Montessori.

An occupant at the Cypress Avenue house declined to comment Thursday about the incident, but a neighbor said Zavien lived there. Family members remained at the hospital on Thursday with Jazmine.

A spokesman for Kansas City Public Schools said district officials are providing support for the family, students and staff.

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Zavien Hall loved to spend time with his great grandmother as she cooked, she said. Family photo

Zavien often tagged along with his father on visits to his great grandparents’ south Kansas City home. While his father and great grandfather sat in the living room and watched sports, Zavien spent time with his great grandmother as she baked and prepared meals.

His great grandparents described Zavien as a jokester, playful but extremely respectful.

Which is why his death was so devastating.

“It’s unexplainable what I really think,” said Emanuel Hall, the teen’s great-grandfather. “I just see no reason why. I just don’t have no explanation as to why this would have happened.”

Emanuel Hall said something needs to be done with the number of firearms that are readily available and accessible to criminals.

“Can there be a program come about where we would give you some immunity if you turned in your guns?” he said. “But something needs to be done, there are too many things happening. It’s really getting out of hand.”

Kamisha Stanton, violent crimes program coordinator for Kansas City, said she agrees and described the shootings as a “travesty.”

“Policies and laws can’t affect some things but it’s people’s mind frame and acceptance of what they believe is normal that we have a challenge,” Stanton said. “Our city needs to change, our state needs to change, but most importantly our country as a whole needs to change.”

Anyone with information should call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.

A $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest in Kansas City homicide cases.

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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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