Valerie Schremp Hahn
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
ST. LOUIS — A family party at a downtown apartment turned tragic, and now family members are coping with the deaths of two young cousins after police said one of them, a girl, 12, shot the other, a boy, 14, and then herself.
Family members said Saturday that they believed that the deaths early Friday morning were accidental. They said the incident was streamed on Instagram Live while the two cousins were making a video together.
Kuaron Harvey, 14, and Paris Harvey, 12, were more than cousins, family members said — they called each other brother and sister.
They were raised together, said Paris’ grandmother, Susan Dyson, of the Dallas area, as the family gathered at Paris’ home in the city’s Kingsway East neighborhood. Dyson said she had seen the Instagram Live video.
“It wasn’t a situation where they were arguing or anything like that. They were playing with the gun, when they shouldn’t have been. Of course, they shouldn’t have been doing it. I think it just went off. It went off by mistake.”
The incident happened around 2 a.m. Friday at South 10th and Spruce streets at the Cupples Station Loft Apartments. Family members had rented the downtown apartment to celebrate March birthdays.
Police have yet to announce the results of their investigation. The incident was initially listed by police as a murder-suicide.
Paris lived in the 4800 block of Labadie Avenue, and Kuaron lived in the 5800 block of Ferris Avenue. His mother and Paris’ father are siblings.
Family members said Kuaron and Paris were in a bathroom at the apartment alone, making a video in the mirror.
After Kuaron was shot, the video shows the girl reaching for the gun, and it may have accidentally gone off again, they said. Both children were shot in the head, family members said.
“It was no murder. It wasn’t a suicide,” said Shinise Harvey, 35, Paris’ mother. “It was a freak accident. It happened.” She did not watch the video herself but family members who did described it to her, she said. They were “trying to be too hip,” she said.
She was not at the party, she said. The party was for younger members of the family — teenagers and young adults. She said she and Kuaron’s mom at first weren’t going to let them go but gave in after Paris and Kuaron begged.
The cousins were always together and Facetiming, rapping, making videos and pulling pranks, family members said.
They acted older than they were, said Angel Dyson, Paris’ aunt and Shinise Harvey’s sister.
Paris was a girly girl who loved getting her hair and nails done, was very creative and funny, had a beautiful voice and “a beautiful spirit.” She also was spoiled, her mother said, laughing.
Paris would call her mom into her room and then say, “mama, can you hand me my bags of chips over there?” Paris was one of nine children and a seventh grader at North Side Community School.
Kuaron was funny, had a goofy spirit, could do “backflips out of this world,” even when he was smaller, and was in the eighth grade, family members said. They said they believed the gun was his.
“No matter how good we try to raise our kids,” said Shinise Harvey, “they still are going to venture off.”
Police on Saturday released the children’s names but no new details on what happened.
Police also posted on social media a graphic with a photo of white lilies on Facebook with the message: “We are sending our heartfelt condolences to the family of 12-year-old Paris Harvey and 14-year-old Kuaron Harvey who tragically passed away on 3/25/22.”
In an incident report, they said they were discovered at 2:07 a.m. Friday, unconscious and not breathing after officers were called for a shooting. They were pronounced dead at the scene.
Two GoFundMe fundraisers have been set up to help the family: One in Paris’ name, the other in Kuaron’s.
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