An online fundraiser has been launched to assist family members in paying for funeral expenses for Kenji Jones, the 23-year-old man who was shot and killed in Richmond Sunday night.
Jones suffered a fatal gunshot wound in the 900 block of 8th Street about 9:30 p.m., when the Shotspotter activation system alerted police to about nine gunshots in the area.
The community is stunned by the killing because, as police have confirmed, he was not in a gang nor was he considered an at-risk youth. Rather, Jones was a longtime member of the RYSE Youth Center and an LGBT advocate, according to Erin Baldassari of Bay City News, who interviewed RYSE members.
“From what I know, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Maaika Marshall, youth justice coordinator at RYSE, told Baldassari. “It definitely wasn’t a targeted shooting. It was very shocking.”
Marshall said Jones played football while also being a cheerleader at Kennedy High, and loved “glitter and glam” and putting on fashion and hair shows.
Jones became a RYSE member in 2008 and was aefounding member of the center’s “alphabet soup” or LGBTQ group, RYSE co-founder Kanwarpal Dhaliwal told BCN.
“He was one of the young people who really helped to create, lead and implement Pride Month at RYSE,” Dhaliwal said. “Wherever he was, he really invoked a sense of safety and possibility.”
On his gofundme.com account, which can be found here, Kenji was described as having a “vibrant energy that turned every hallway into a runway.”
“He was one of a kind and the world just got a little less bright without him,” loved ones said.
For those who cannot donate at this time, the family asks for their thoughts and prayers.
Along with the gofundme.com account, the RYSE Center is also accepting checks on behalf of the family. Checks can be made payable to “RYSE Center” and in the memo please put “Kenji Memorial Fund.” Checks can be mailed to the RYSE Center c/o Kenji Jones Memorial Fund, 205 41st Street, Richmond, CA 94805.