Wagswoofs – Justina West received a devastating phone call on Christmas Eve, informing her of her younger brother’s tragic death in a shooting incident.
She was unable to shed tears initially. The reality of losing her brother to gun violence was too difficult for her to comprehend. It was another devastating loss in their lives, as their mother had also tragically lost her life to a gunshot in the metro area back in 2015.
She eventually reached a breaking point, but soon after, she mustered up the strength to make the difficult phone calls to their loved ones, informing them of the heartbreaking news that Nicholas “Nicky” West had passed away.
According to Justina West, she found it extremely challenging to provide the necessary information to them (The Star).
Nicky West, 20, was found shot in a parked car around 10 a.m. on December 24 in the area of Eighth and Olive streets. He was declared dead at the scene.
When the police arrived, they found a different guy with gunshot wounds. Justina told them that the man was Nicky’s friend.
A friend’s family told Justina that two men robbed and shot the men while they were sitting in the car. The friend of Nicky’s got out of the car and ran. He was taken to the hospital with minor injuries that were not life-threatening.
The police discovered Nicky in the car. At the scene, they said he was dead.
The police haven’t found a suspect or figured out why the person was killed.
Nicky’s family initiated a GoFundMe campaign with the aim of providing him a funeral “to bid him farewell with the utmost love and care.”
A life cut short
Nicky, a determined student at J.C. Harmon High School, embarked on his college journey during his sophomore year. Fueled by his aspiration to become a brain surgeon, he set his sights on attending the prestigious University of Kansas. In the meantime, Nicky dedicated himself to his job in roofing and tiling, making strides towards his future career.
According to Justina, he had an infectious smile that would brighten up the family birthday and holiday parties they would attend. During these gatherings, he would selflessly lend a hand by offering to clean or look after the children, allowing his family members to focus on cooking.
According to Justina, Nicky was a compassionate friend who always went above and beyond to assist those he held dear. When one of his friends tragically lost their mother to cancer, Nicky opened up his home and generously shared his shoes and clothes with them.
Nicky and Justina, being the two oldest siblings in their family, shared a strong bond, according to Justina. While Nicky would tease and argue with his sister, he would always come to her defense whenever she needed support. Moreover, Nicky was a loving uncle to Justina’s four children, often engaging in outdoor playtime with them or taking them for leisurely strolls at the park.
Nicky had always been hesitant to show their emotions in front of others, but when their mother, Jessica Gutierrez-Lutes, was tragically killed in November 2015, their tears couldn’t be held back. Ever since that devastating day, Nicky and their loved ones would gather together annually on their mom’s birthday and the anniversary of her passing to let go of balloons, symbolizing their love and remembrance.
During his high school years, Nicky experienced the devastating loss of his best friend in a tragic motorcycle accident. Additionally, he had to cope with the heartbreaking reality of some of his wrestling teammates falling victim to gun violence.
In September, Nicky experienced another devastating blow when his girlfriend suffered a heart attack while they were in bed. Tragically, she passed away, leaving Nicky to grapple with the profound loss.
When Nicky went to see his girlfriend at the hospital, Justina kindly offered to drive him back home so that he could freshen up and have a meal. She sat with him on her bedroom floor, comforting him while he cried.
After her passing, Nicky was overcome by a deep sense of sadness. Justina noticed that he withdrew from their regular communication, and even when he attended a family gathering a few months later, he lacked the enthusiasm to engage with others and left prematurely.
Nicky expressed to his sister that he couldn’t handle it any longer. He felt exhausted from the emotional toll of mourning his loved ones.
According to Justina, he completely lost hope and abandoned everything. Despite their best efforts to support and guide him, they strongly believe that he simply gave up.
Justina expressed her family’s confidence in the detectives’ ability to solve her brother’s homicide. After her mother’s murder remained unsolved, Justina emphasized her family’s desire for her brother to receive the justice he rightfully deserves.
“We’re really hoping that someone speaks up because someone has to know something,” she expressed with a sense of urgency.
According to data monitored by The Star, the recent homicide marks the 181st killing in Kansas City this year, including fatal police shootings. This year has officially surpassed 2020 as the city’s deadliest year on record.
If you have any information, please contact the homicide unit at 816-234-5043 or the anonymous TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477. You may be eligible for a reward of up to $25,000 if the information you provide leads to an arrest.