Aviva Okeson-Haberman, a Kansas City radio journalist, died of a gunshot wound
A 24-year-old radio journalist based in Kansas City, Missouri died of a gunshot wound, her station announced, KCUR announced, after she appeared to have been hit by a stray bullet over the weekend.
The bullet came through the window of her first-floor apartment in the Santa Fe area of the city, police said.
Her death comes as the city has hit its worst-ever year for murders, with 182 murders reported by police in 2020.
At least 71 murders have been committed in Kansas City so far this year, according to data from KSHB.
A colleague of Aviva Okeson-Haberman found her in her apartment on Friday afternoon, bleeding from the wound. She hadn’t responded to messages all day.
Police arrived at the scene at 3:17 PM and Okeson-Haberman was transported to a local hospital, where she received a living.
She was pronounced dead on Sunday. Police are now investigating the shooting.
“We, at KCUR, mourn her death along with her family and friends,” the station wrote in a statement.
Okeson-Haberman graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri in 2019.
Okeson-Haberman lived in a first-floor apartment in the Santa Fe area of the city
A bullet came through her apartment window on Friday and hit her
The far left window was shot by the police by a stray bullet, killing the young journalist
A news report shows an image of the window with the stray bullet, which can be seen in the lower left corner
A colleague found Okeson-Haberman bleeding from a gunshot wound in her Kansas City, Missouri apartment on Friday afternoon after not responding to messages
While still in college, she supervised over 40 of her fellow students as she produced weekly shows for the student-run television station MUTV.
She received a Sigma Delta Chi Prize for research reporting.
She and a colleague had learned that thousands of calls went unanswered at the Missouri Elder Abuse hotline. That story led to an investigation of the hotline’s practices by the Missouri Attorney General.
After graduation, Okeson-Haberman worked for about a year as a reporter at KBIA, the university’s public radio station. Two of the stories she worked on there were picked up by ‘Here & Now’, a public radio show broadcast by more than 450 public radio stations across the country.
Okeson-Haberman graduated from Missouri School of Journalism in 2019
Aviva Okeson-Haberman, center, graduating from the University of Missouri
She joined KCUR, the NPR branch in Kansas City, in June 2019 as a politician and government reporter in Missouri, having been interned at the station a year earlier.
“Aviva was brilliant,” said Lisa Rodriguez, director of KCUR News. “Even as an intern, her approach to storytelling and her ability to hold those in power to account ran parallel to many a seasoned reporter.”
Okeson-Haberman was particularly interested in the foster care system, the station reported, as she was in the system as an adolescent.
“She cared deeply about children in foster care, and she also wanted to gain the most thorough understanding of the state’s prison and juvenile justice system,” said Scott Canon, editor of the Kansas News Service, who recruited Okeson-Haberman. for her job at KCUR.
“She was full of ideas for stories that she thought could improve people’s lives in the worst of circumstances.”
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas tweeted his thoughts on Okeson-Haberman’s career
Okeson-Haberman was due to take up a new role on social issues and criminal justice for the Kansas News Service in May, searching for an apartment in Lawrence, Kansas hours before she died.
In her application she wrote: “Social services is a tough job, but I am a tough reporter.”
I’ll ask the tough questions, dive into the data, and spend time building trust with sources. It is what it takes to take a staunch look at the consequences of state government for those entrusted to it. ‘
Some of the stories she has written about her short career exposed the corruption in the province and the inequalities in the distribution of COVID vaccines.
“Aviva was a creative, thorough, challenging and insightful reporter,” tweeted Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas when he heard the news.
“She was always prepared and told the full and complex story of our city in one of the most challenging years in its history,” he wrote. “Her life showed us her compassion for those who were all too often voiceless.”
Her death exposes our most serious unresolved epidemic and the avoidable tragedies that too many families are experiencing, the mayor continued. will miss. everything she had to share beforehand. ‘
On the night Okeson-Haberman was hospitalized, the radio station reported, five other gunshot victims were also admitted.
Okeson-Haberman leaves behind her parents, two younger sisters and her maternal grandparents.