Bullet hits, kills 24-year-old journalist in her home: 'This world is poorer without her'

EMILY SHAPIRO
·3 min read
Bullet hits, kills 24-year-old journalist in her home: 'This world is poorer without her'

Missouri politicians and journalists are mourning a 24-year-old Kansas City radio reporter who was fatally shot while in her home.

KCUR reporter Aviva Okeson-Haberman was found with a gunshot wound on Friday when authorities responded to her apartment for a welfare call, Kansas City police said.

KCUR said colleagues went to check on her after she hadn't responded to messages.

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Okeson-Haberman had been in her home when a bullet pierced a window or a wall, police said.

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The 24-year-old was rushed to a hospital in critical condition. KCUR announced her death on Sunday.

PHOTO: Aviva Okeson-Haberman joined KCUR in June 2019, in Kansas City as the Missouri politics and government reporter. She was found dead from a gun shot wound in her apartment on April 23, 2021, at the age of 24. (University of Missouri-Kansas City)
PHOTO: Aviva Okeson-Haberman joined KCUR in June 2019, in Kansas City as the Missouri politics and government reporter. She was found dead from a gun shot wound in her apartment on April 23, 2021, at the age of 24. (University of Missouri-Kansas City)

"I'm just so unbelievably sad," KCUR news director Lisa Rodriguez tweeted Sunday. "Aviva was the best of us and this world is poorer without her."

Okeson-Haberman graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri in 2019 and was hired that year by KCUR as a Missouri politics and government reporter. She had joined the newsroom family one year earlier as an intern, the station said.

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Okeson-Haberman was set to begin a new assignment covering social issues and criminal justice, KCUR said.

"She was an especially beloved friend and colleague just beginning what promised to be a brilliant career," health and legal affairs editor Dan Margolies wrote in a KCUR article. "We, at KCUR, join her family and friends in mourning her passing."

PHOTO: State Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch is interviewed by Aviva Okeson-Haberman, center, in Columbia, Mo., Feb. 6, 2019. (Nate Brown/University of Missouri)
PHOTO: State Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch is interviewed by Aviva Okeson-Haberman, center, in Columbia, Mo., Feb. 6, 2019. (Nate Brown/University of Missouri)

Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver tweeted that he spoke with the slain journalist last month.

"Her passion for justice and truth-seeking was palpable; her commitment to the community was inspiring; and her journalistic ability at such a young age was impressive. I’m heartbroken I won’t get another phone call with her on the other end," he said.

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Cleaver also stressed the need for gun reform.

"Aviva is the latest to fall victim to the scourge of gun violence running rampant in Kansas City and communities across this nation. It’s an epidemic of epic proportions and the consequences are unbearable for families everywhere," Cleaver tweeted. "When a young person cannot sit in their own apartment without fear of losing their life to gun violence, it’s clear that something is broken. We -- as a community and as a nation -- must find the strength and courage to take action to stop these senseless tragedies."

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas tweeted, "Aviva was a creative, thorough, challenging, and insightful reporter. Always prepared, she told the full and complex story of our city in one of the most challenging years in its history. Her life showed us her compassion for those who too often were voiceless."

"Her death lays bare our gravest unsolved epidemic and the preventable tragedies too many families endure," he said.

Bullet hits, kills 24-year-old journalist in her home: 'This world is poorer without her' originally appeared on abcnews.go.com