A 10-year-old girl gathered with her family to watch the Kansas City Royals take on the San Francisco Giants in Game 5 of the World Series.
As a hail of bullets pierced her grandmother’s home, she bolted rather than jumping to the floor as other family members did. She died as she ran for a back room.
Police and family members believe the bullets were intended for the child’s 19-year-old brother. Numerous KCTV5 viewers have reported that the gunman’s girlfriend stood up for her boyfriend in posts on Facebook and she and others discussed the motivation behind the shooting. Detectives are aware of the postings, but no arrests have been made as of Monday night.
Machole Stewart, who was known as Coco, and her family had gathered inside the home in the 1400 block of New Jersey. Just as Giants ace Madison Bumgarner was throwing out the first pitch, someone sprayed bullets over a two-block area, striking vehicles and Machole’s home. Machole was snuggled on the couch with her mother, who ordered her children to get down.
The woman, her 19-year-old son and a 16-year-old child jumped to the floor as the girl jumped up and ran for a back room. She was hit and died inside her own house before her horrified family members.
“She didn’t get to live her life and she was just 10 years old,” the girl’s aunt, Martika Stewart, said. “All I ask is for someone to give her justice.”
Machole was a student at Rosedale Elementary School. She was on the drill team at her school and loved to dance.
“Anyone who knows Machole knows you are going to laugh when she comes around,” Stewart said. “This baby didn’t deserve this. She didn’t get to live life at all.”
The girl’s great-grandmother says the teen who was targeted is 17 years old, not 19 years old.
KCK Mayor Mark Holland said he and other city leaders have Machole’s family in their thoughts and prayers.
“This is a great loss for our schools and city. I know the Kansas City, Kansas Police is utilizing all resources to bring those responsible to justice,” he said in a statement. “Even with crime at a 30-year low in our community, a tragedy such as this reminds us that any tragedy is one too many.”
KCK Police Chief Ellen Hanson pledged that officers would track down the killer, and spoke against vigilante justice. She said the murder of a child is heartbreaking and impacts the entire community.
“The police department is pulling out every stop to solve this crime as quickly as possible. We want to make sure those people responsible are brought to justice and we are not plugging in another part of the cycle of violence,” Hanson said. “The police department will take care of this and bring justice to the family of Machole.”
Community members spoke out Monday, calling for an end of gun violence that is taking the lives of children. Machole’s death follows the death on Oct. 17 of Angel Hooper. The 6-year-old was shot as she was unwrapping candy while leaving a Kansas City convenience store where she had gone with her father. The drive-by shooter has not been caught.
A radio station opened its phone lines to get tips that would lead to the arrest of the drive-by shooters who took the lives of two little girls.
“We’ve buried too many of our babies,” said Alvin Brooks, founder of Adhoc Group Against Crime, a former police officer and former Kansas City mayor pro tem. “We’ve buried too many in our community. That’s the African-American community it has to be said. We in the African-American community we’ve got to do better about how we raise our children and their role models.”
Others called for people to speak up and be forthcoming about the truth.
Desmond Lamb, pastor of Forest Grove Baptist Church where Machole attended, said she was a special light.
“She was a very gifted kid,” Lamb said. “A very gifted angel that the Lord sent to earth.”
He said the events of Sunday night have shocked and devastated the Kansas City area.
“I believe this is a shock wave throughout our entire community,” he said. “There is no doubt about it. A young lady at such a young age. That’s not supposed to happen.”
Nina Oliver, a community leader who is trying to get tips that will lead to an arrest, said the violence must end.
“The fact that our children are being murdered that should rattle your soul,” Oliver said.
If you have any information, call the KCK Police Department or the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.