The victim of a fatal shooting inside a Kansas City bar early Sunday morning has been identified as 46-year-old Royce Jeffries, a former Oklahoma State basketball player who was described by a co-worker as a kind, gentle man who would talk people down from fights.
Jeffries, of Kansas City, worked security at the bar. Two other people, a man and a woman, were injured when the gunman opened fire. Their injuries were not believed to have be life-threatening.
“He was great,” said Cathy Rhodes, a bartender at Bob’s N Motion near 57th Street and Troost Avenue. “He was kind. He was gentle. He always had a smile on his face even when stuff was going on in here inside the club that needed his attention.”
Rhodes said Jeffries never threw a punch at anyone and was able to talk people down and get things under control.
A fight broke out about 12:30 a.m. Sunday inside the bar. Jeffries and another security worker tried to break it up and get the those involved out the door, Rhodes said.
One of the men involved in the fight returned and started firing a gun.
“Royce was standing there right there at the door,” Rhodes said. “He had his back to the door.”
The other security officer was shot in the leg, but he’s expected to be OK, Rhodes said. She didn’t know the woman who was shot.
Jeffries had worked at the bar for about a year.
Jeffries played basketball at Oklahoma State from 1986 to 1990, spending four seasons under head coach Leonard Hamilton and assistant coach Bill Self, now the head coach at Kansas. Jeffries, who stood 6 feet 6 and was known for his rugged play in the paint, averaged 13.1 points per game as a senior.
During his stay at the school, he starred alongside future NBA guards John Starks and Byron Houston.
Self, when reached on Sunday, said he last spoke to Jeffries a couple of years ago.
“Great guy,” Self said. “Great athlete, always smiling. (It is) such a sad day.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).
A gofundme.com account has been set up to help the family pay for Jeffries’ funeral costs.
The Star’s Matt Campbell contributed to this report.