KANSAS CITY, Kan. — On Christmas Eve, Kansas City, Kansas police say an 85-year-old grandmother was killed in a drive-by shooting while she was sitting at home with her husband.
Patricia Panijan was watching TV in the living room when a car drove past her home and senselessly opened fire.
Monday, Panijan’s family, friends, community leaders and loved ones held a vigil calling for answers and justice. She was planning to spend Christmas with her family, but did not get the opportunity. She was killed on her half-birthday.
Mayor Tyrone Garner showed up and spoke with Panijan’s family. He would not mince words and said the people who did this to her are terrorists. KCK Police Chief Carl Oakman says they plan to find them and bring them to justice.
“She definitely didn’t deserve this,” Panijan’s grandson, Austin Mispagel said.
“It’s just such an odd occurrence that she would be shot in her home on this block and in this community,” her daughter, Gina Dorough said.
Panijan’s husband was also shot but was only grazed. He is recovering now a widower. Her grandsons say they woke up Christmas morning in shock to the news Grandma Patricia was gone.
“She was always there for us at the holidays. Always cooking on the holidays. Always there for us,” Austin Mispagel said.
“She was the most kind and loving grandma there was,” Dalton Mispagel said.
Garner said they will not tolerate violence like this in his community.
“Who could be next? That’s why it’s so important to get these terrorists off our streets. I stand by that. I’m not ashamed to say it, and I’ll continue to say it,” Garner said.
Police Chief Carl Oakman said detectives worked through Christmas on the case. He says they won’t stop searching until they find who senselessly killed this beloved grandmother.
“We’re coming for you. It may not be tomorrow, it may not be next week, but we’re going to find you,” Oakman said.
Oakman said the Panijan family deserves justice.
“I just want them to find who did this and hold them accountable for their actions,” Dalton Mispagel said.
“Mom, you’re always going to be with me. Always,” Dorough said.
Police have not released an suspect information or details on the car involved in the homicide.
Police say they need help with leads on this case and are asking people to call the TIPS Hotline with any information. You can reach them at (816) 474-8477. You can remain anonymous and there is a reward for tips leading to a conviction.