Kansas City LGBT+ community grieves murder of gay man

Ta’Ron “Rio” Carson of Kansas City. FB photo.

A 24-year-old gay Kansas City man was gunned down in the early morning hours of March 4 after leaving a dance club around 3 a.m. just before he was shot, friends said.

Ta'Ron "Rio" Carson was shot when men jumped out of vehicle and shot him at a Midtown street corner near 39th and Main early Sunday morning, according to the Kansas City Star.

Police responded to a call of shots fired and found Carson with multiple gunshot wounds, police said. He was rushed to a hospital where he died.

Friends of Carson fear he may have been shot because he was gay.

"Ta'Ron was always himself," friend Gary Junior of Kansas City said. "He was not ashamed of his sexuality. He did not hide himself from anybody. He was really about standing up for the LGBT community."

Purportedly, Carson left the club “peaceful and docile.” He was described as the “life of the party.”

The Kansas City Center for Inclusion released a statement with information about a vigil planned for the victim.

“Kansas City’s LGBTQ+ community is devastated to learn of the suspected hate-driven murder of Ta’Ron “Rio” Carson. This tragedy has left us heartbroken and is especially painful for Kansas City’s Black and Latinx LGBTQ+ people, as Rio was well known and celebrated across these communities.”

The organization said this act of violence follows a pattern in which LGBTQ+ people of color are most often directly targeted and suffer the highest number of fatalities.

According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, 71 percent of LGBTQ+ homicides in 2017 were people of color.

“We ask LGBTQ+ people to center the family and the voices of those most directly impacted by this attack so that we can best support them and come together in this tragic time.”

A candlelight vigil and solidarity walk for Carson will be held Tuesday, March 6 at 6 p.m. and will start at the Center for Spiritual Living, 1014 W 39th St, Kansas City, MO 64111. The event has been planned with the support of Carson’s family to make space for the grieving and celebration of his life.

The solidarity walk will begin at 7 p.m. with candles provided and lit before the walk. Guests are encouraged to bring pictures, balloons, flowers, etc. or wear any items of clothing in support and remembrance of this young man known to so many as “Rio.” Any t-shirts or Beyoncé-related items will be appreciated because of his love for the artist.

“We will walk approximately one mile towards the intersection of 39th St. & Main to the parking lot of CVS, near where Rio was shot and killed. Those unable to walk are encouraged to meet in the CVS parking lot."

Following the vigil, the Kansas City Center for Inclusion at 3911 Main St, Kansas City, MO will remain open and have light refreshments for those who want a safe, media-free space to reflect and process through community conversation.

People are encouraged to reach out to the following local LGBTQ+ organizations who have united together to provide healing, support and resources for the community:
BlaqOut KC
Brown Voices/Brown Pulse
Kansas City Anti-Violence Project
Kansas City Black Pride
KC Center for Inclusion
One Struggle KC
Our Spot KC

“Allies looking to take action right now are encouraged to show up, listen and donate to organizations and movements that uplift LGBTQ+ people of color in the Kansas City metro area."

For more information about the vigil or further developments, contact KCAVP at (816) 561-2755 or info@kcavp.org.