Grieving mother ‘lost part of her heart’ when son was fatally shot

Kiana McCune mentioned Thursday the day she heard gunshots exterior the parking zone of the Tan Tara Residences she may hardly breathe as a result of she knew her “complete world simply ended.”

Her 16-year-old son, Michael Alexander McCune, had simply left the condominium early to fulfill his “tracker” – a liaison who displays teenagers for juvenile courtroom – exterior, she mentioned in a sufferer influence assertion. As he left, he advised her “I’m good” — his final phrases to her.

The whole lot occurred so quick. About 5 minutes later, she heard gunshots.

“They had been so shut,” the mom mentioned. “I grabbed my 3-year-old off the sofa and crawled to the kitchen. My coronary heart immediately dropped, as I began crawling to the window as a result of the defendants (Dante Irvin, being adjudicated in juvenile courtroom Thursday and the others charged) had been nonetheless capturing.”

She advised her boyfriend, “My child is on the market.” She acquired to the window and noticed folks working throughout the parking zone, to a different condominium constructing. The mom grabbed her telephone and began calling her son time and again.

That day retains enjoying time and again in her thoughts.

“I’ll always remember Feb. 18,” Kiana McCune, tearing up, advised the decide with members of her household and pals surrounding her within the small, packed Linn County Juvenile Courtroom courtroom. “On that day I misplaced part of my coronary heart, and actually, I died that day with my son.”

The mom mentioned 15-year-old Dante Irvin ambushed and focused her son in such a “hateful, manic method with no regret for my son, my household or the neighborhood. He’s a menace and shouldn’t also have a likelihood to be round common people once more.”

Irvin, in the course of the mom’s assertion, simply leaned his head ahead and appeared down whereas his mom and about 17 different household and pals sat behind him, pressed collectively within the restricted house. He declined to make an announcement in the course of the listening to in Linn County Juvenile Courtroom.

Irvin, a highschool sophomore, pleaded in June to first-degree homicide as a youthful offender. He’ll stay below the jurisdiction of juvenile courtroom till he turns 18.

He returned to juvenile courtroom Thursday as a result of a decide needed to determine whether or not to ship him to the Boys State Coaching Faculty in Eldora or one other juvenile facility out of state as a result of Iowa solely has one such facility.

Sixth Judicial Affiliate District Choose Russell Keast requested Irvin’s legal professional, Mike Lahammer, for his advice.

Lahammer requested that Irvin be ordered to the state coaching faculty and let the Iowa Division of Well being and Human Providers discover him an affordable placement.

Keast mentioned he’s conscious of DHS Director Kelly Garcia’s letter to Irvin’s juvenile courtroom officer, asking the courtroom to not place the teenager on the coaching faculty.

Garcia mentioned within the letter obtained by the Gazette in June that doing so “would put his life and the lives of different college students and STS (state coaching faculty) workers liable to critical hurt.”

Garcia mentioned McCune, a former pupil on the faculty, “recognized” with a Cedar Rapids space gang, “The Cash Boyz.” Irvin, she wrote, has a recognized affiliation with a “rival gang, who’re suspected to be accountable” for McCune’s deadly capturing.

Garcia, within the letter, mentioned if Irvin was despatched to the varsity, she would request he instantly be eliminated after placement.

Keast mentioned he would order Irvin to the state coaching faculty or an “equal facility.” He additionally would ask that Irvin be moved out of juvenile detention as quickly as potential. He additionally set a detention listening to in 30 days to make sure Irvin has been moved to a facility by then or he finds that DHS is making progress on a placement.

Mainly, it’s as much as DHS to discover a appropriate placement for Irvin – both the coaching faculty or one other exterior of Iowa.

Irvin, convicted as a youthful offender, will return to district – grownup – courtroom when he turns 18 and a decide will determine whether or not to condemn him to life with the potential for parole, a lesser jail time period or probation, or launch him.

Extra sufferer statements

Kiana McCune, throughout her assertion, additionally advised the decide that she didn’t suppose two years in a juvenile facility was lengthy sufficient for rehabilitation of killing her son. The teenager deliberate and did this at 15, so there’s no solution to know what he’ll do when he will get older, she mentioned.

“What number of households should lose their baby over gun violence? What number of sisters and brothers reside on with out the particular person they grew up with?” the mom mentioned. “I want and this neighborhood must know that this isn’t OK and gained’t be tolerated.”

Kiana McCune additionally mentioned she wished the decide to know who Michael was. He was “good-looking, respectful, pleasant, loving, candy and playful.” He was nice at math and would even typically assist her. He loved enjoying basketball, soccer and video video games.

He would have been a senior this 12 months and was able to study a commerce as a profession. Michael wished “a number of youngsters and to be a household man.” However all these issues had been taken away “in a blink of an eye fixed.”

She additionally learn an announcement for her different son, Keonte McCune, as a result of he wasn’t in a position to learn it.

Keonte mentioned he ran to do a fast errand that day, not figuring out that it might be the final time he would see his brother alive. He obtained a name from his mom, however there was simply silence. He known as again, and this time she mentioned, “They’re capturing, come residence.” He rushed residence and noticed a crowd exterior and an ambulance.

He ran right down to their condominium and noticed his mom “bawling.” He requested the place his brother was, and so they mentioned, “he’s gone.”

“Michael was the sweetest, most gifted particular person I do know,” Keonte mentioned. “Simply being round him may put a smile in your face. He was at all times there for you, in the event you wanted him.”

Irvin took his brother’s life “with no care on the earth. Shifting ahead, I’m glad I’ve my mother as a result of we can be his voice.”

Kiana McCune broke down and began crying after studying her son’s assertion.

After the listening to, Irvin’s household advised him they cherished him as they left the courtroom.

Irvin and three others teenagers – Tramontez Lockett, 17, of Cedar Rapids, Baynon “BJ” Berry, 16, of Marion, and Devin Gardner, 16, of Maquoketa, deliberate a “focused” deadly assault on McCune on Feb. 18 over previous conflicts stemming from their rival gang affiliations and the time a few of them spent collectively on the coaching faculty, in response to prison complaints.

Baynon Berry appears for a pre-trial hearing at the Linn County Courthouse in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Friday, August 4, 2023. Berry, 16, is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit a forcible felony and going armed with intent in the shooting death of Michael Alexander McCune, 16. Berry is accused of conspiring with TraMontez Lockett, 16, and Dante Irvin, 15, in a “targeted” attack on McCune over past conflicts.  (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

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