KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office identified the 7-year-old girl killed in a shooting earlier this week and the suspect who took his own life.
The sheriff’s office said the shooting took place Wednesday morning in a residence near North 55th Drive and Everett Avenue. The child victim, identified as Cariya Reed, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Her brother, a 3-year-old boy, was taken to an area hospital where he remains in critical condition, according to the sheriff’s office.
Family, friends and neighbors gathered at the apartment where the shooting took place to remember Cariya Thursday night.
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.
“Unique as they come. She was a unicorn,” Reed said.
The suspect, who was found dead in the home, has been identified as 38-year-old Keith Johnson Jr.
Her life was filled with purpose and joy but ended senselessly.
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.
“I pray that they make a full recovery, and she can deal with this in her own way. 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.
Johnson is also suspected of shooting his girlfriend at Welborn Park. She remains in critical condition at an area hospital, according to the sheriff’s office.
Cariya’s 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 incident remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.