Father-to-be construction worker shot by random stranger who wanted a cigarette
Johnathon L. Porter was going about his daily routine, laying pipes near Ninth and Brooklyn streets, for a Kansas City-based construction company early Tuesday morning. Engrossed in work, he kept to himself, waiting to get home to his pregnant fiancée. A passer-by approached Porter out of the blue and asked him for a cigarette.
However, Porter, who worked as a sub-contractor for InfraSource, told the man that he couldn't help him as he did not smoke. He didn't fathom that the random stranger would be the devil he didn't know.
The stranger began to leave, but then he suddenly turned around and yelled, “Y’all don’t have to lie to me,” and fired seven or eight shots toward the working men, reported the Kansas City Star.
"The passer-by walked away and then turned around and shot him," said law enforcement authorities in a conversation with his mother, Lindy Porter. According to a preliminary investigation, it has been determined that the shooting was completely random.
The 23-year-old was expecting his first child late next month. He, together with his fiancée, had decided to name her Adley. Through tears, his mother grimaced, "I just hate the fact that he's never going to be able to hold her."
The couple had planned a baby shower for the mother-to-be this weekend. As of Tuesday afternoon, the gunman is still at large and being sought by the authorities.
While construction workers were interviewed at the scene, the company called the shooting heartbreaking and issued a statement conveying their condolences.
“We are deeply saddened today after one of our InfraSource employees was shot and killed this morning while working on a construction site in Kansas City, Missouri, for our customer, Spire,” a statement from his employer said.
"Until we know more, we are working with police and InfraSource to pull crews off the streets in the Kansas City area," the company said. "We ask that you hold this man, his family, his friends, InfraSource and utility workers and our communities in your thoughts and prayers."
According to FOX4, InfraSource shut down their work site after the shooting and sent crews home.
Lindy wished that the attacker knew the happy times her son was looking forward to and said that he would have never pulled the trigger if he had just known him.
"His smile would light up the room. ... He was just perfect. Everybody who knew Johnathon absolutely loved him. He was just the sweetest boy."
As a child, Porter would spontaneously pull his mother into a dance, "no music or anything", his mother said. He was brought up in Appleton City, about 80 miles south of Kansas City.
His mother said that he loved art. She had recently found some of his old sketches and had hung them up on a wall in his closet. "Course I laughed at it at the time, but now it’s something I’m never going to paint over," Lindy Porter said.
Porter earned his GED after attending school until the 10th grade. He fell in love with his fiancée, who was his best friend's sister and moved to Nebraska to be close to her. Recently, the couple moved back to their hometown to be near family as they were expecting a child, and were looking to get an apartment of their own.
"I just hate the fact that he's never going to be able to hold her," said his mother. According to her, Johnathan loved kayaking, swimming, hiking, and a loved being outdoors.
She said that she hasn't had a chance to see her son's dead body as yet, because it had to be taken for an autopsy to the Jackson County Medical Examiner.
"All I want is to just see him, touch his head or shoulder just one more time," Lindy Porter said.
Lindy said that her son's fiancée is devastated and in shock after the incident. "She loved him so much. I'm just glad he was able to have that."
Authorities have released a photo of a person of interest: a black male, about 25 to 30 years old and wearing a dark-colored hoodie with gray pants.
If anyone has leads on the suspect or is able to identify him is requested to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477. All calls are anonymous, and there is a reward, police said.