The Friday night shooting death of 6-year-old Angel Marie Hooper at a 7-Eleven was mourned Saturday by her family and by a small group of demonstrators outside the neighborhood convenience store.
Angel, a first-grader at Symington Elementary School, “loved to laugh, make good grades and play” with her 1-year-old brother, Michael Hooper, according to a flier distributed Saturday near the store at 107th Street and Blue Ridge Boulevard.
She had gone to the 7-Eleven with her father, Booker Hooper, 29, and a friend. She was shot shortly after 7 p.m. by a passing motorist and died soon after at a nearby hospital.
Angel, who also had a 7-year-old sister, Jayla, was “smart and real sweet,” said Ashley Newson, a cousin of Angel’s mother, Charity Guinn, 26.
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Guinn, reached by telephone Saturday, simply said, “She was my angel.”
The protest, which included cardboard signs and chants of “Stop the violence” and “Save our kids,” was organized by Christopher Burney and his sister, Ashley Green. They said they didn’t know the Booker family but, like them, lived in the area.
Burney said he saw the crime scene late Friday, “and when I found out it was a little girl, I couldn’t sleep. I did what I thought I was supposed to do” — get some friends and make some signs — “to stand up and try to put a stop to this violence. …
“This is our store, and it’s not right when you can’t feel safe.”
A vigil is planned for 6 p.m. Sunday at Sycamore Park, 108th Street and Sycamore Avenue.
Police Capt. Tye Grant said the shots were fired from a passing vehicle on 107th Street, south of the store. He said the police were working on some leads and would check the store’s surveillance tapes. Anyone with information about the shooting is encouraged to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.
The demonstrators’ action and message drew praise from Police Chief Darryl Forté. He tweeted a photo of the protesters Saturday afternoon and wrote: “A community that cares!”
Friends of Angel’s family established an online account for donations toward Angel’s burial costs. It can be found at www.gofundme.com/fz3szc.
Mayor Sly James released a statement Saturday afternoon expressing outrage.
“The senseless drive-by shooting last night that led to the death of a 6-year-old girl is another reason why we must get serious about gun violence,” the statement said. “Criminals are no longer just killing each other — they are killing our children. This nonsense must end.
“I have full confidence in the professionals at KCPD, and in the individuals of our community, to find the perpetrator and bring him or her to justice. In the meantime, my thoughts are with the family of precious Angel, who lost her life entirely too soon.”
The store has been the site of other shootings in recent years.
On the afternoon of June 5, a shootout occurred in the store parking lot. Two men got into an argument, and both pulled out guns and began shooting. Bullets struck the front window of the store and a nearby auto repair shop. No one was injured.
On April 17, 2013, a gunman tried to shoot a rival in a car parked outside the store. He hit the man’s pit bull and broke two store windows.
A demonstrator at the store’s corner Saturday afternoon, Eric Jones, said he lived nearby and appreciated what Burney and the others standing with him were trying to do.
“On the south side, we’ve had too many kids losing their lives,” Jones said. “A 6-year-old girl. That’s crazy.”