Crime

‘Why couldn’t you just walk away?’: Victim’s mother says killer must turn himself in

The homicide victim identified by police as Jamaigo Jamar Berryman had, hours before being killed Friday morning, made an unexpected phone call.

Berryman’s mother, Jennifer Gibson, took the call. They didn’t talk about anything out of the ordinary, Gibson said, but the call seemed a bit out of place.

It might have been Berryman’s way of showing love for her, Gibson said. It was the last time they spoke.

A church member phoned Gibson to alert her that Berryman, 30, had been shot and killed. Gibson immediately jumped into her truck and sped to 60th Street and Leavenworth Road in Kansas City, Kansas.

“I’m begging God to don’t let it be true,” she said while sobbing on Tuesday.

By the time Gibson arrived, paramedics had already rushed Berryman to a hospital. Berryman was pronounced dead there.

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Jamaigo Jamar Berryman Photo courtesy of family

Officer Tom Tomasic, a police spokesman, said it appeared Berryman had run a short distance and collapsed in the road.

Kansas City, Kansas, police said the killing remains unsolved. It was the city’s 23rd homicide of the year, according to data kept by The Star, which includes fatal police shootings.

On Sunday, police released photos of a man and a car being sought in connection with the homicide. They said the car is a 2006 Pontiac G6 with Kansas tag 038 LXW.

Police said the man had not been identified. No arrests have been made.

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A photo of a man was distributed by police investigating a homicide in Kansas City, Kansas. Police described the man as a person of interest. Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department

On Monday, relatives held a vigil and balloon release in honor of Berryman.

Berryman attended F. L. Schlagle High School until the 11th grade, and was a drumline member of the high school band.

Berryman enjoyed working on cars, a passion that Berryman’s father helped cultivate. Berryman also loved to style hair and was described by relatives as a caring and loving person.

“The life of the party,” aunt Tina Berryman said. “Loving and … kind.

“Did not deserve this.”

Berryman loved and cherished daughter Ja’Mya. Berryman recently worked in the bakery department at a Price Chopper and as a clerk at a Dollar General, both in Kansas City, Kansas.

Gibson said her granddaughter doesn’t realize Berryman is no longer around. She plans to tell Ja’Mya how much Berryman loved and cared about her.

Berryman also attended New Testament Pentecostal Church at 27th Street and Farrow Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas, and was a member of the usher board and choir.

Funeral arrangements have not been made. Relatives are trying to raise money to help cover the burial expenses.

Gibson said she had no idea what led to the killing. She thinks Berryman got into an argument with a man before the shooting.

“Why couldn’t you just walk away?” Gibson said. “You don’t know the pain that you have caused. Turn yourself in.”

BEHIND OUR REPORTING

How we did this story

A Kansas City Star reporter and photographer interview relatives of Jamaigo Jamar Berryman to gather background information about his and the events that led to his killing. Kansas City, Kansas police also provided updates on their investigation and details about the shooting.

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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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