8-year-old girl randomly shot one year ago pushes for peace in Kansas City

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KANSAS CITY, Mo — An 8-year-old Kansas City girl is asking for peace in her city.

She was randomly shot one year ago while riding in a car. Now, she and her mother say they want to see an end to violent crime.

BrookLynn Cross is a girly girl through and through. She’s known by her friends and family for always wearing a pair of sparkly or fluffy ears on her head. Some look like cat ears, maybe wolf ears, a fuzzy panda, and don’t forget a unicorn horn. 

However, BrookLynn is also a victim of gun violence. Her mother, Julie Foster, said her daughter’s strength is remarkable.

“It didn’t break her. It never broke her,” Foster said. “Her spirit was still there, and she kept me sane in that hospital.”

She was shot a little more than a year ago on June 9. KCPD said officers responded to the shooting around 6:14 p.m. near Linwood and Gillham. When they arrived they found a 16-year-old male victim had been shot in the ankle.

The victim got into an argument with someone in the parking lot. Police said there was an exchange of gunfire between the two parties.

Foster said the 16-year-old unintentionally shot BrookLynn, but purposefully shot his gun. One of his bullets went through her car and hit BrookLynn in both of her legs. 

Foster rushed her daughter to Children’s Mercy where she went into surgery. BrookLynn kept a positive attitude and learned how to walk again with the help of physical therapy and a walker.

The 8-year-old said her mom had a hard time, but she was there for her.

“She was really sad, but I helped her cheer up because she knew I was going to make it, and I knew that, too,” BrookLynn said. “She was crying so much, but I helped her get happier.”

Her wounds have healed, but she still needs surgery. She will have another one soon, but BrookLynn said when she looks at her scars she doesn’t think of herself.

She said she thinks of her uncle, 18-year-old Bradley Sartain.

“He was my favorite uncle,” BrookLynn said.

Sartain was killed in late November 2017, and his case remains unsolved. Independence police said he and another man, 20-year-old Ernesto Delahoz, were shot and killed at Hawthorne Place Apartments.

BrookLynn made a shadow box for her uncle. She keeps it by her bed along with pillows made out of shirts he used to wear. 

“It always makes me feel safe because it makes me feel like his spirit is in the room protecting me,” BrookLynn said.

Foster said the boy who shot BrookLynn is currently going through the court system and is being tried as a juvenile.

The teen who shot him, 17-year-old Michael D. Candler-Ward is being tried as an adult. He is charged with assault, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon.

Foster wishes the teen who shot her daughter were facing the same consequences.

“I feel like it’s happening more than what we talk about. It’s sad. It’s truly sad that a 16-year-old feels like he has to walk around with a gun,” Foster said. “We need to crack down on gun violence. I think if someone gets caught with a gun and they’re at a young age, I think they should be tried as an adult.”

Mayor Quinton Lucas said homicides are up in Kansas City by 36%, and non-fatal shootings for the month of May are up 74%.

BrookLynn is asking people to think before they shoot.

“Keep peaceful and try to work it out because you don’t know if you could shoot a little girl or a little baby,” BrookLynn said. “You never know if you could shoot a little kid.” 

If you can help solve Sartain’s case, or any other major crimes in the metro, call the CrimeStoppers TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS or submit a tip here. All tips are anonymous, and you could earn a cash reward.

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