KANSAS CITY, Kan. (WDAF) — Family, friends and neighbors in Kansas City are mourning the killing of a 7-year-old girl.
Thursday night they gathered at the apartment where she was murdered. Her mother and 3-year-old brother remain in the hospital. Police say the suspect who killed her took his own life.
Police say this started when the suspect shot at the girl’s mother Wednesday morning at Welborn Park in Kansas City.
Investigators said he then went to the apartment where her two children were inside. Police say the man shot and killed the 7-year-old girl and wounded the 3-year-old boy. The family identified the girl as Cariya Reed.
Her father, Cletus Reed, said she loved playing outside with friends, unicorns, tutus, and spending time with him. The realization she is gone is too hard to bear.
In Cariya Reed’s seven years she was a joy to all around her.
“Unique as they come. She was a unicorn,” Reed said.
Her life was filled with purpose and joy, but ended senselessly. On Wednesday, she, her mother, and 3-year-old brother were all shot. Her mother is expected to survive, but family said the boy is in critical condition.
“She was killed on my birthday,” Reed said.
Her father got the call she was gone and he got on a plane from Texas to KCK. He stood in front of a vigil for Cariya in disbelief.
“I just want to try and keep my spirit lifted and just be happy for her no matter what I do, how much anger, it’s not going to solve anything,” Reed said.
“She just had a free spirit. She loved to run around and play, tickle you. She loved noodles. She could eat bowl after bowl of noodles,” her stepmother, LaDonna Reed, said.
Rahneshia Ragsdale is the family’s neighbor and set up the vigil for Cariya and hopes her family recovers. She said Cariya was a bright and bubbly child who spent time with her and played with her children.
She says she is praying for Cariya’s mother and the little boy.
“I just want her to know that her daughter was loved, and if she needs anything she knows where I’m at. We are here for her. We are praying for you, crying for you and that baby. We love Cariya,” Ragsdale said.
Her father said their bond was like no other and knows one day he will see her again.
“I would just tell her I love her, and I’ll see her in heaven,” Reed said. “My little girl. My little baby. Always.”
The Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Department said it will release the name of the suspect on Friday.
Cariya’s family set up a Gofundme to help organize her unexpected memorial expenses. If you can help this family with her funeral you can donate here.