Jayden Ugwuh, 9, and his cousin and classmate, Montell Ross, 8, were sleeping inside their home, located at 59th and College, Kansas City, Missouri, when gunfire erupted around 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning.
Jayden woke up and immediately ran out of the room toward his brother’s room, but turned back when he realized his cousin hadn’t followed him out. Both the children were shot, but Jayden somehow managed to make his way to his 12-year-old brother, Jayson Ugwuh Jr., and snuggled up in his bed, where he later died, recounted his father, Jayson Ugwuh.
Cousins Jayden Ugwuh & Montell Ross started their new school year last week. Now they're dead. Innocent victims of senseless gun violence.— Kansas City Police (@kcpolice) August 16, 2016
“Didn't even cry, just got hit and ran and laid up under his big brother, you know. Like he knew exactly where to go for comfort, you know what I'm saying,” Ugwuh told Fox4KC. “He was in his safe spot, his home. This came to his home. So where else are you safe at if you are not safe where you sleep and wake up and eat. What can you do?”
Ugwuh said his son loved to rap, wanted to fly, was a fan of superheroes and had big dreams — which can never now be fulfilled. He was also great at drawing.
Ugwuh was also very concerned for his older son, who woke up to find his little brother dead in his arms.
“I got to deal with that and still raise them but what can I say to him, cause he actually held him, he held his cold body, you know what I am saying? How do I teach my son to cope with that when I can barely cope with it?” the heartbroken father said.
The death of the children, who were described as popular and outgoing by their teachers, have also hit Hogan Prep Elementary hard, where the two attended classes for the past four years. The school’s counselors and social workers are helping students and staff cope with their loss.
“They are a large family with lots of cousins,” Hogan Prep Superintendent Dr. Danny Tipton said. “They are in all of our schools, in the high school, in the middle school and in the elementary school. So they are a Hogan family. They are some of the ones who have been here for a long, long time.”
The deaths of the children have raised the total count of Kansas City’s homicide to 67 — a record number by this time of year in the city’s seven years — and have also sparked anger form its leaders.
“I'm just really tired of hearing about kids getting killed,” Mayor Sly James said Saturday afternoon. “You've got people with guns who don't care who's at the end of the bullet.”
Police have said they are continuing to investigate the case and believe the murderers at some point may have been inside the house.
Adult family members are no longer living in the house and have come only to gather their clothes and other things.
Ira Ross, the grandmother of one of the two boys, pleaded for the culprits to turn themselves in “because they have destroyed us.”