Much has been said lately about "honoring the dead" in mid-town…
Most recently about the makeshift memorial that went up, and then finally, five months later, down, for Brian Euston.
But the fact is, Westport has had too many untimely deaths over the past 30 years. Perhaps the most significant being that of Kansas City police officer Jim Leach in 1992. Jim was running the evening security in Westport at that time, and had been putting up a road block late one weekend night. Out of nowhere a ‘white,’ drunk driver slammed into Jim, killing him on the spot.
Jim was loved by everyone in Westport and that became his beat every day.
The merchants put a plaque up on the wall of one of the buildings in Westport to honor Jim. Westport even held a golf tournament in his name for 10 years to raise money for charity.
There were no photos or flowers of Jim Leach partying to mark the area where he was killed.
In fact there were a couple other front page deaths in the Star that had no news follow ups at all. One was a man shot by police after leaving Kelly‘s with a gun in his hand. He had threatened his wife inside the bar, the police came, followed him down by what is now the parking lot by a cleaners on Pennsylvania. There five officers blasted the dude because he wouldn’t drop the weapon.
No memorials for him.
Another very drunk young man was kicked to death in the head late at night. Again, on the sidewalk in front of Kelly’s and he too was a white person.
Again, no flowers for this guy.
The family of Brian Euston said, they get some peace by coming often to where their son was killed and looking at the weatherbeaten, makeshift memorial.
I find that somewhat bizarre – to go to the place of a tragic, late night death – that that would give someone peace.
Look, nobody is doubting the family and friends feelings. It’s wonderful that he was so well liked.
And maybe Westport should have put a plaque near where Jim Leach was killed – that actually makes sense. If one of Westport’s icon’s was killed in the area today – someone like Kyle Kelly or Bill Nigro,- I’m sure that’s what Westport would do.
And if I had been killed while Stanford’s was open there? They’d have probably thrown a party!