‘We’re just left in many broken pieces’: Missouri family mourns son killed near Washburn University

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LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. – Dwane Simmons’ bright future was cut short by gunfire over the weekend.

The 23-year-old graduated from Lee’s Summit West in 2014. He went on to play football at Washburn University and was heading into his final season and last semester of college in the fall.

Navarro Simmons, Dwane’s father, traveled to Topeka Friday to drop off a couch for his son. Simmons was moving into a new apartment after learning roommate Corey Ballentine was making his way to the NFL as a recent draft pick for the New York Giants.

Shortly after recording a video on Facebook celebrating, Navarro said goodbye to his son, not knowing it would be the last.

Simmons and Ballentine were walking home from a party when it happened.

“Some guys rolled up and asked if they had some smoke or something else for sale,” Navarro said. “Dwane and Corey said no and they just drove off and came back around and opened fire. And killed Dwane and we’re just left in many broken pieces.”

Navarro got a call from Ballentine the next night form the hospital. He and Simmons’ mother Chaquilla Everett rushed to Topeka.

“I would just hug him a little bit tighter probably a little bit longer,” Navarro said.

Now, Simmons’ parents and siblings are feeling a deep void.

“Just loved to make you laugh, that’s just his spirit,” Navarro said. “That’s what I will remember most about my son.”

Ballentine is expected to make a full recovery from his injuries, and police are looking for suspects and a motive to pursue.

“He was well loved at Washburn, so if anybody hears anything I believe somebody’s going to say something so we’re just hoping they find the person that did it,” Chaquilla said.

For now, Simmons’ parents are remembering the good in hopes police will be able to chase down the bad.

“There wasn’t a dull moment with Dwane. He was just a, he was just an awesome kid,” Navarro said.


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