Crime

Father of dead 2-year-old faces murder charge in Jackson County

Courtenay S. Block
Courtenay S. Block

A Kansas City man who allegedly allowed his 2-year-old daughter access to a handgun now faces a murder accusation in her death.

After Shaquille Kornegay died from a gunshot wound last week, prosecutors charged her father, Courtenay S. Block, 24, with child endangerment and tampering with evidence.

They amended the charges Wednesday to add counts of second-degree murder, child abuse resulting in death and marijuana possession.

Prosecutors filed the second-degree murder count by using the state’s felony murder law dealing with deaths that occur during the commission of another felony crime, which in this case would be the child endangerment allegation.

Block took actions — leaving a loaded gun in a child’s reach — that resulted in the girl’s death, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said.

“This should not have happened. This was not an accident,” she said. “Children are not responsible for their own safety. That is our job and we are simply holding people to account for that rule.”

The shooting happened last Thursday afternoon in the 2600 block of Lawn Avenue. Arriving police officers found Block outside, clutching the unresponsive girl. An ambulance took Shaquille to Children’s Mercy Hospital, where the medical staff declared her dead.

According to court records, Block told police he had been sleeping and awoke to the sound of Shaquille crying. She was standing next to the bed with a head wound. Block noticed his handgun on the floor next to her. Block allegedly picked up the child and the gun and went into the bathroom to hide the gun. Then he went outside with the girl to seek help. A neighbor called police.

Police found the handgun in a bathroom floor vent covered by a child’s T-shirt.

The only people at the home when officers arrived were Block, Shaquille and a 3-year-old boy.

Baker said gun locks cost about $10 and are given away at no cost through various law enforcement agencies.

“Gun ownership, gun possession requires responsibility,” she said. “Innocent children should not be at further risk because you own a gun.

“Adults have a special responsibility for the protection of our most vulnerable population: our kids. Protecting those children means we sometimes have to take affirmative steps to keep them safe.”

Block pleaded guilty in December 2014 to possessing marijuana and resisting arrest while fleeing police. He was placed on probation. Authorities were seeking to have his probation revoked when Block failed to appear in court for a hearing in February.

Glenn E. Rice: 816-234-4341, @GRicekcstar

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