Last Friday, Floyd Ross Jr. grabbed his older sister’s hand and said “I love you.”
That was the last time Kenesha Ross saw him. Four days later, he was killed.
Ross, at 31 years old, was shot Tuesday night in Leavenworth, police said. His friends and family remember him as a caring and gentle person, a track star, and a loving uncle and dad who left behind a 3-year-old daughter.
Leavenworth police responded to the intersection of North Fourth and Kiowa streets at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday on a shots fired calls, Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens said.
When officers arrived, they found him in the street with multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead when he arrived at a hospital. Kitchens, on Thursday, said officers were working to find witnesses and leads.
His death left his family searching for answers.
“Why would someone want to do that?” his father, Floyd Ross, said.
“I just wish the person, whoever did this, I wish they would’ve known who he was,” Kenesha Ross said.
Friends have set up a GoFundMe to help cover the costs of the celebration of live.
“He was affectionately known as a person who was always smiling and breaking out randomly into song,” friends wrote on the fundraiser page. “He was kind-hearted, generous, and made a difference within his community.
‘A person of random acts’
As kids, Kenesha Ross remembers her little brother dashing outside as she left for her first ever field trip with a piece of toast with cheese in hand.
“I wanted to make this for you so you don’t starve,” she recalled him saying. She didn’t want to eat it, but she did.
He may have been the baby brother, but he always took care of his loved ones.
The other day, he brought their mother flowers, his oldest sister Roschana Harper said.
“He’s a person of random acts,” she said. “Don’t plan nothing with Floyd.”
His father said he had a close relationship with Jesus. And they’ll always remember his bright smile and love for his family.
His daughter, 3-year-old Adrienne, was a “daddy’s girl.” When he walked in the room, she lit up. When he would pick her up from a visit at her auntie’s and knock on the door, she would start screaming and hollering and jumping, Roschana Harper said.
“If you took her from him, it was over,” she said. “She wants her daddy.”
Everything ended with ‘I love you.’
Akeem Holmes met Floyd Ross Jr. at Barton County Community College in 2008. Holmes was a grade above him. He remembers his friend as looking a little sleepy, and possibly not totally ready for college, when they first met.
Still, he brought laughter, jokes and smiles to the world of athletics, where he excelled at triple jump.
“I can’t believe the name that’s in the headlines,” Holmes said.
Once after a tough workout in the rain and slipping on campus, Holmes said Ross quite literally gave him the shirt off his back. Holmes didn’t have another shirt, so Ross gave his despite having only an undershirt beneath.
Ross caught up with Holmes briefly at Iowa State following a short hiatus, then ultimately transferring to the University of New Mexico. There, Holmes said, he blossomed.
He started to jump further than before, his personality opened up and he grew into who he was supposed to be.
And by 2012, he competed in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in triple jump where he finished 16th.
Holmes said if Ross was still alive and knew that tomorrow would be his last day, he would want people to know this: That he loves them.
For him, everything ended with “I love you.”