A Mother’s Plea For Justice

Misty & Chris

A Mother’s Plea For Justice…

On the morning of May 20, 2007 every parents worst nightmare happened to me. At about 7:30 am my doorbell rang. I looked out the front window and saw a Gladstone, MO police car in front of my house and my heart just dropped. I opened the door and the police man said my son was in the hospital and that I needed to call this number and he handed me a piece of paper. I immediately started to cry and my whole body started shaking. I asked him what happened and he said he didn’t know, that the KC police dept had contacted them and said that I needed to call that number. By then my husband Dave, was up. I ran to the phone and when I called the number  all I got was a recording for a job hotline for St. Luke’s hospital. I called it several times, same thing. By then I was panicking.

We called every hospital in the KC area. Dave was on one phone I was on the other. No one had any record of him. How could my son be in the hospital and no one be able to find him?  I was in full panic mode at this point. I called my niece, Amy, since Chris was living with her ex-husband and that is who Chris usually was with, trying to find him. She said she would call around and get back to me. I finally called a friend who is a KC policeman and told him what had happened and asked him to see if he could find Chris and what happened to him. After hanging up with him I called the Gladstone police dept and told them that the number they had given me was no good. They said they would get the correct info and call me back. I don’t have any idea how much time passed, seemed like days. Finally they both called me back around the same and said that Chris was at St. Luke’s downtown. My friend kept asking me if he wanted Ann (his wife and my friend) to drive me down. I said no, that Dave was with me. At the time I couldn’t understand why he kept asking that, I later found out that he knew what had happened to Chris.

Dave and I jumped in the car and started driving downtown. I started crying uncontrollably and screaming that nothing could happen to him. He was my baby, my only baby, he was my life! Nothing could happen to him! All sorts of things were running through my head. What could have happened to him? Was he in a car wreck? Had someone assaulted him? I worried about that as Chris was a fairly scrawny kid and you always see the dumb drunk guy picking on the small kid. In my head, I was sure he had been in a car accident. The whole way I kept looking for an accident scene, the hospital was on the way to the Westport area. But I knew that Chris wouldn’t drive if he was drinking, he would call us or take a cab, like he had done before. But did he get in a car with someone that had been drinking?  Andrew, Chris’s best friend, had just gotten in town from his Air Force base in Montana for a 2 week leave before he shipped out to Iraq. They had been at the house the night before and Andrew was talking about a bunch of the kids getting together and going out to Westport, a local entertainment district. This was the first time that the boys had been together since turning 21.

When we finally got to the hospital, we ran in the doors and started looking for the emergency room. We ran down a hall and realized that we were going the wrong way and turned around. About that time a security guard came up to us and asked if we were looking for an accident patient. We said yes and I think we may have even given him Chris’s name or vice versa, he said to follow him. I asked him how he knew we were Chris’s family and he said he could just tell. We asked him what happened, and I remember, we were walking down a long hall or maybe it just seemed really long, and he said, “he’s been shot”. All I could say was “NO!” over and over,  that couldn’t have happened to him! I couldn’t feel my body anymore. He wouldn’t have been anywhere near something like that! He was a good kid, he didn’t start trouble, he diffused it or walked away.

When we got to the floor where he was, the guard put us in a room and went to get the doctor. The Dr. and a nurse (I think it was Megan) came in and told us what had happened to Chris. (exactly what he said is a blur so the following may be from what I remember or know that came about in the next 24 hours). He said he had been shot in the back of the head and they had done surgery to repair some of the damage. The bullet hit his brain stem and traveled to the front of his head. They told me he was “very grave”. I will never forget those words, ever! I don’t think at the time I fully understood what those words meant. I couldn’t believe what was happening. Not my Chris, these things didn’t happen to kids like him.

I asked to see him and I think they told me that he was hooked up to tubes and monitors and to be prepared. When they took me back, I don‘t think I was prepared for what I saw. No one should ever have to see their child like this! And yet, here I was living it.  I told him this would all be ok and that I loved him. The nurse explained that they keep the lights low and the noise to a minimum to let the brain rest. She again told us that he was in a very grave state. Dave and I were at his side when a Pastor came in and asked if we wanted Chris baptized. Yes, of course, we needed God’s help to heal him. At this point we had no idea how bad it really was. I kept thinking if his brain could rest, he would come out of it. He wouldn’t leave me. It had always been me and him, we had each other. Chris didn’t want to die, he had told me that before, he was scared of dying.

Dave and I just sat there with Chris, holding his hands, kissing him, telling him how much we loved him and that he would be ok. He was a fighter, I told him so and he could get through this. Little did I know that I was lying to him!

My sister called me ( or maybe I called her, so many things are a blur), apparently I had called her on my way to the hospital. I told her she had better get down there, it wasn’t good. Then Amy called me back and I told her what had happened. As word spread family and friends started coming. I don’t know what I would have done without any of them. I started trying to call Andrew to find out what had happened. He wasn’t answering-I think I left him a message. I think he finally called me back or maybe he just showed up several hours later, not really sure. At some point the nurse came and got me and said that a detective wanted to talk to me. Again, how could this be happening to us, to Chris? They just wanted information, none of which I had at the time. Not until Andrew and Nick came to the hospital to tell me. Andrew didn’t even know what had happened. He ended up getting a ride home that night from another friend.

From what I know, and maybe I don’t want to know the whole truth yet. Some of the events are sketchy to me, I only know what Nick has told me and what I have seen on the news. Some of the kids went to Westport and as the night wore on, Andrew had to much to drink so he called Chris to come get him. Chris wasn’t drinking. Chris met up with them in the parking lot of the Grand Emporium on Main St. There is some video from a phone of the kids in the parking lot goofing around. Andrew wandered off so Chris and Nick ( a friend from high school) went looking for him. They must have went into the Walgreens at 39th and Broadway and when they came out they were standing on the sidewalk in front of Walgreens. The bars were closing so the streets were full of people, there were even cops directing traffic. Gun shots started and everyone thought it was fireworks, Chris yelled that it was gunshots and yelled for everyone to get down. One car drove through the parking lot of Walgreens and the other was on Broadway and they were shooting at each other, without even caring that there were hundreds of people around! As Chris was yelling for everyone to get down, he pushed a homeless man down to safety and while doing so, took a bullet to the back of the head. I later learned that a cop directing traffic heard the commotion and looked up to watch my son fall to the ground. I heard that they had pronounced him dead at the scene and then someone saw his foot move and they found a pulse, like I said before, he wasn’t ready to die! That is when they took him to the hospital and did surgery. Three other people were hit by the gunfire, but they all walked away and went home that night. Chris didn’t!

At 6:35pm on Sunday, May 20, 2007 they declared my son, Christopher Ray Bartholomew, brain dead. The bullet had just done to much damage. Now my 21 year old bright, energetic, smart son was dead. My world fell apart at that moment.

How could someone do something so horrible? Chris was a good kid, worked hard and earned everything he had. He had a full time job. He went to college, he wanted to be a police officer. He had a bad ass truck. He had just moved out with his buddy. He had just gotten a promotion at work. He had just started dating a girl a few weeks before. He was a good kid ( I say kid because to me he still was and always will be my baby). He LOVED sports, any sport, to play or watch. He even stayed loyal to the Royals and Chiefs when they weren’t doing so good! He played on the corporate challenge team at his work. He loved his family, if you didn’t give him a hug when you were leaving, he would say “what’s up with that!” He loved holiday traditions. He loved Logan (8 yrs) and Liv (4 yrs), my god kids, they were like his brother and sister. He loved his stepbrother, Jake, like a real brother. He loved his friends. He was always there for you. He had a heart and a conscience, he cared about other people’s feelings. He treated others how he wanted to be treated. One of his friends came up to me after the services and said that even when all the kids would be talking shit about someone he never said a bad word about anybody.     We decided to donate Chris’s organs. They were able to use all of his organs except his lungs. I have received letters from some of his organ recipients. They are hard to read, but I love getting them and knowing that he is still living on in others.

After declaring him brain dead, they kept Chris alive on life support for another 27 hours to take his organs. Dave and I stayed by his side the whole time. Even though Dave and I have only been together 7 years, this devastated him also. This was the longest time in my life, or so I thought, until I’ve had to live the last year without him.

Do you know how hard it is to watch them take your only child away and know that you will never see them, touch them, kiss them, tell them you love them, again? I couldn’t breath, I couldn’t think, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t function. I could just cry, uncontrollably, I don’t even know where I got the energy to do it, I hadn’t eaten or slept in 2 days. I just wanted him back so bad. My heart hurt beyond words! And no one could say or do anything that would make it better. I just want my son back! And that is never going to happen. What do I do now? All I’ve ever known is being Chris’s Mom. Who am I now? I can’t even go into certain stores because I know that I will see something that I would have gotten for him. I can’t go to his favorite restaurants because he should be there with me. I can’t go to Royals games because that is something we should be doing together. So much I can’t do without him!

I ask myself all the time, why does God always take the good ones? Leave some for us! THIS ISN’T FAIR!

Chris had everything going for him and some lowlife, scumbag, gang banger wannabe took it all away from him! I will never get to see my son marry the love of his life. I will never get to have grandchildren. I will never get to see what kind of man he turns out to be,(even though I really think I already did J!) I will never get to see where life takes him. He is missing out on so much!. He loved life! Chris overcame so much adversity in his young life and had become the person that we all wish we could be like.



Don’t let these people continue to walk the streets when my son can’t! They didn’t care that there were innocent people around when they were shooting. This could happen to any of you. There were hundreds of people in Westport that night and I know that someone knows something!



  1. John Shipp says:

    My wife and daughter and I want you to know that what you are doing is the right thing, and your son, whose body has left us but whose spirit will always be within you, is proud of you! We send our love and strength to you in your quest. Justice will eventually be found, and your efforts will make that happen.

  2. Misty, my heart aches so for you. I know the struggle you bear every day, and I am witness to your strength, grace and devotion to your Chris. I am always here for you, anytime, for anything you need. I love you, friend.

  3. Sue VanGerpen says:

    Misty, I just found this and am writing with a heavy heart. I know the pain you feel after I too lost my baby. I watched him die for 2 years only to get that dreaded phone call he dropped dead in our kitchen during the day while I was at work. Bill found him when he got home. The last words he said to me were “have a good day Mom, I love you”. He was sick and we were getting medical attention but not enough soon enough. He made a lot of mistakes and bad choices which caused his medical issues but he was trying to do it right this time for his two little girls. The 3 year old was living here with him and us and spent half the day thinking Daddy was asleep in the floor. It has been 8 months and the pain is still raw. He was my baby. I panic when I can’t get ahold of my daughter – I can’t lose another one of my children, there is no greater loss. I can’t imagine your pain of not knowing who did this to Chris and I pray to God they are brought to justice for it. You are a very strong woman, people say that to me all the time, but no strength is enough to make the pain go away. I don’t feel strong, I want to hold him, tell him I love him just one more time. I don’t want to say good bye. Some days I just wish I wouldn’t wake up. Then I could see him again. God bless you honey. I think you came to Kenny’s funeral, I am still in a fog about that few days following his death but I seem to remember you there. Thank you, that couldn’t have been easy. My love and prayers,

  4. Misty,
    My heart is heavy for you and I wept as I read your story and plea. I am so sorry for your pain and your loss.
    I too know the pain with the loss of my 19 year old, Israel. It’s been 15 years, doesn’t seem like it and the pain is incurable.
    But I cannot imagine your pain of not knowing who did this to Chris.
    I will keep praying for justice for Chris!
    With love,

  5. Paul Moore says:

    I am speechless imagining what that day was like and the following days. Someday they will have to account for their wreckless actions, maybe not in this world, but HE knows who did it and come judgement day douchebag will have to pay for his actions by the loss of the Kingdom of God. May The Lord please help you find peace in your mind and in your heart Misty. Our posse is all your family and we love you and Dave very much. You MUST TRUST IN THE LORD! Chris is watching over you everyday from above, but he would want you to be happy and go on. You will catch up with him someday, we all will. My son would have been 39 this year.

  6. Anonymous says:


    Please dont lose faith, Im trying to peace this together. Hold on and keep god first.

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