Families of those killed in south Kansas City left with huge voi - WFSB 3 Connecticut


Families of those killed in south Kansas City left with huge void

Family members have identified two people killed as Lorene Hurst and her son, Darrel Hurst. Family members have identified two people killed as Lorene Hurst and her son, Darrel Hurst.
Susan Choucroun, 69, (right) was also killed Tuesday. Her rabbi said she always championed for the underdog. Susan Choucroun, 69, (right) was also killed Tuesday. Her rabbi said she always championed for the underdog.

A mother and her devoted son who was visiting her were among the victims in Tuesday's triple fatal shooting in south Kansas City.

Family members have identified two people killed as Alice Lorene Hurst, 88, and her son, Darrel Hurst, 63. Susan Choucroun, 69, was also killed. George and Ann Taylor, a married older couple, are fighting for their lives after they were severely beaten.

The family of the victims are now left struggling to understand how something like this could happen.

Kathy Hurst lost both her husband and mother-in-law to the violence.

"My husband and my mother-in-law, I said they came in this world together - my husband did with his mom - and they left together. So maybe if their death means something, he (Brandon Howell) will be put away forever and never to hurt anyone again," she said.

The Hurst family said Darrel Hurst frequently stopped by to visit his mother, which is what he was doing when police say they came upon a crime taking place.

"They were here one minute and they were gone the next. I just had lunch with my husband. I saw him an hour before he died and he was just coming by to do what he always did – and that was take care of his mother," Kathy Hurst said.

The family said the two were shot and killed in front of Lorene Hurst's home on Woodbridge Road.

"I hope this never happens to anyone else. It is so surreal, I can't even tell you what's happened to our family. Please get this person off the street and keep him off the street for everybody else," Kathy Hurst said. "We're very happy that the monster was caught. He has taken something from us that we will never get back."

She spoke highly of her mother-in-law, calling her a saint. Kathy Hurst also spoke of a long and happy marriage with her husband, saying they've been married 40 years, have two children and two grandchildren.

The Hurst family issued the following statement Wednesday morning:

"We are devastated by the loss of Lorene Hurst and her son, Darrel Hurst. Darrel was over visiting his mother, Lorene yesterday when they were both killed. He frequently stopped by her home, so this wasn't an unusual event. While we are unsure of all of the events that transpired that day, but we are comforted knowing that they were together. Our prayers go out to the other families and victims in the neighborhood as they are struggling to deal with their grief as well. Our hearts are broken and we ask for our privacy during this difficult time."

On Tuesday, Kathy and Harold Hurst went to Lorene Hurst's home to check on her after hearing the news of the shootings and getting worried when they couldn't get ahold of the 88-year-old woman.

"I got a call from my brother and he told us that all these police were around here. So I thought, well I'll come to check it out and, when I see the (crime) tape so close to her house, and she's 88 years old, she's sharp, but you know we heard there were some shootings, so we just don't know what to think right now," Kathy Hurst said Tuesday afternoon before learning the tragic news.

The two said that Lorene Hurst did still have an active schedule, but that she was usually home about the time that the shootings occurred.

"I can just see the tape around her house. You see the tape right there, it's right around her unit," said Harold Hurst as he anxiously waited for word from police.

Choucroun's death is being felt beyond her South Kansas City neighborhood - her synagogue is hurting as well. She has been a member of the synagogue Congregation Ohev Sholom for 25 years. Her rabbi said that, along with her family, it was a huge part of her life.

Rabbi Scott White said that he got the news of Choucroun's death Tuesday as he was leaving Kauffman Stadium and happy for a Royals' win. The news hit him like a lightning bolt.

"All of a sudden I got a call from our executive director and he said he had some awful news. Boy that was an understatement," White said.

Now the rabbi is remembering a woman he called his friend.

"She was always a champion for the underdog. She was a founding member of several civic organizations and remained involved. She loved children, she was the nursery school teacher for many years. She loved practicing Judaism and being a part of our congregation," White said.

He spoke about his Sunday trips with Choucroun to visit her sick mother, a visit she never failed to make. White said she wanted to be around for anyone who needed help.

White said the synagogue she loved so much will now try to move on.

"That's a void that can't be filled. It's an unbelievable loss. We will go on, but the passion for justice, there was nobody in the congregation that had it stronger than she (Choucroun) did," White said.

Brandon Howell, 34, is being held without bond in the Jackson County jail after being charged with three counts of first-degree murder. He also faces a slew of other charges including two counts of first-degree assault.

Howell is a suspect in Northland Motel 6 assaults.

Howell allegedly was attempting to steal George and Ann Taylor's beloved Jaguar when confronted by neighbors. He is reported to have severely beaten the couple, who is in their 80s, during the attack. A relative tells KCTV5 that both are in the intensive care unit, but did not want to speak on camera as they are dealing with the horrible tragedy.

"Both of the Taylor's are still struggling to keep their life," said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.

The crimes have shocked the quiet cul-de-sac.

Vicky Gruver said the Taylor's were just "lovely, genteel, easy-going" neighbors. She said they tended their yard and the Jaguar.

Relatives are uncertain about all of the details, but said the Taylor's had returned from the store and were attacked when they were getting out of their car with their groceries.

A hospital spokeswoman issued the following statement on behalf of their family:

"Per the family's wishes, we will not be releasing any information. They thank you for your respect during this tragic time."

The family of Choucroun is making funeral arrangements and White said, in accordance with their faith, they'll try to have the service as soon as possible.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.