‘Those babies need their dad’: KCK mass shooting victim remembered as devoted father

Alfredo Calderon, Jr., one of the four men killed in a mass shooting Sunday morning in Kansas City, Kansas, was remembered by loved ones as a devoted father of two young children.

“He cared about those babies so much,” Celeste Trevino, who identified Calderon as her brother-in-law, recalled through tears Sunday night at a vigil for those fatally shot in Tequila KC.

“Those babies need their dad.”

Calderon left behind a 6-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter who meant the world to him, relatives said. He’d do anything for those kids, they said.

“It might be Fredo teaching his daredevil son how to do tricks on the bike, or sloppy ponytails for his daughter,” according to an online fundraiser set up to raise money for his family.

“He was always there with a camera to catch those most memorable times.”

Born in Kansas City, Kansas, Calderon graduated from Bishop Ward High School in 2009, according to his obituary. His education helped “mold who he became as a person,” according to the online fundraiser.

“Alfredo understood education and investment,” it read. “Alfredo understood sacrifice and hard work.”

As of Monday morning, the account had raised more than $2,100 of its $10,000 goal.

VIGIL victims 100719 tll 0113f.JPG
Alfredo Calderon, Jr., (from left), Everardo Meza and Francisco Garcia Anaya (right) were three of the four people killed in a mass shooting at Tequila KC bar in Kansas City, Kansas. Tammy Ljungblad

Calderon owned a heating and cooling business for several years, loved ones said. On Facebook, three customers who left reviews gave his business five stars, calling his work reliable and his customer service great.

One woman wrote: Calderon “went out of his way to make sure my AC was up and running as soon as possible.”

Calderon attended All Saints Catholic Church, where his funeral Mass will be held.

Police have not identified the men killed. But family members and friends of the victims said three of them were Calderon, Everardo Meza and Francisco Garcia Anaya. The fourth was from out of town, a bartender said.

The shooting

Calderon was killed in the bloody rampage inside the bar near 10th Street and Central Avenue that left shocked relatives searching for their loved ones in the early hours of Sunday morning. Five other people were wounded in the shooting.

Javier Alatorre, 23, and Hugo Villanueva-Morales, 29, have each been charged with four counts of first-degree murder in connection to the mass shooting. Alatorre was in custody and Villanueva-Morales remained at large.

Hugo Villanueva-Morales, 29, and Javier Alatorre, 23 Courtesy of the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department

Detectives said they have yet to determine a specific motive for the shooting. But witnesses described one of the suspects as getting involved in a fight outside the bar before returning later, armed and with an accomplice.

Speaking with reporters Sunday night, Trevino recalled the horror of the shooting. She said she watched as one of the men walk into the bar and start firing. Crawling on the floor, she realized the man next to her was dead. As she left the bar with her aunt, Trevino found Calderon’s body. She fell to the floor and couldn’t breathe, she said.

She ran outside and called her mother.

“Alfredo’s shot,” Trevino told her. “Alfredo’s shot.”

It’s a moment she wouldn’t be able to forget, she said.

Trevino remembered Calderon as a great father, saying he would do anything for his children. He was one of the best fathers she had ever met, she said.

Hours after the shooting, Calderon’s uncle, Juan Ramirez, said Calderon went to the bar to watch a boxing match. Calderon an innocent bystander who had “nothing to do with it,” Ramirez said, a tear running down his face.

“I don’t wish this upon anybody,” Ramirez said near the police tape. “He was just a family man.”

Ramirez said his family was tightly knit, with relatives living blocks from the community bar. They’re now sticking with each other, working through their grief, he told The Star on Sunday morning.

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Luke Nozicka covers local crime and federal courts for The Kansas City Star. Before joining The Star, he covered breaking news and courts for The Des Moines Register.