'An exceptional young man' lost to gun violence in Center, LINC community

Center Elementary School and LINC student Brian Bartlett, 8, smiles in a Christmas photo shared by his family  on a GoFundMe page  raising money for his burial costs and family support.

Center Elementary School and LINC student Brian Bartlett, 8, smiles in a Christmas photo shared by his family on a GoFundMe page raising money for his burial costs and family support.

Brian Bartlett was eight years old, just days away from starting the fourth grade at Center Elementary School and LINC’s Caring Communities after-school program.

The child was killed as he slept Saturday night, Aug. 10, when a barrage of gunfire ripped through his family’s house in the 8300 block of Tracy Avenue. His mother was wounded. Investigators still have no suspects or know of any motive for the shooting, police said.

“This young man lost his life for no reason whatsoever,” said LINC Caring Communities Site Coordinator Richard Williams.

Williams remembers now “an exceptional young man” and the soft dimples of his round, smiling face.

He remembers the boy’s mother, delivering him to school, taking him home — returning into the neighborhood around the south Kansas City Caring Communities site that Williams said sees too much violence and stress.

“He was quiet, unassuming,” Williams said. “A smart young man. My heart is broken.”

The Center School District said that counselors would be available at the school as children arrived for the first day of school Wednesday.

His family grieved over Brian’s death in a GoFundMe page testimonial that lamented the pain inflicted on his mother who “protected him and did everything by the book for her baby boy as he was her everything.”

On the eve of the first day of school, community leaders rallied with family and friends to summon courage to help bring the shooters to justice, and to shout in chorus against the violence in Kansas City.

Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers offers up to $25,000 for tips that lead to arrests. You can remain anonymous. Anyone with information can call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

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