In what prosecutors believe to be an act of vengeance, a 21-year-old Kansas woman has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder after she allegedly tracked down her brother’s suspected killer and fatally shot him.
Following the shooting, police say the accused – identified as Tityana Coppage – allegedly sent her deceased brother a text message to inform him she had avenged his murder, KCTV reported.
Coppage’s 16-year-old brother, Jason Ugwuh, was fatally shot in Kansas City on January 10. Before his death, Ugwuh was a basketball prospect and played for the Hogan Preparatory Academy team.
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According to the police, Coppage met up with the victim – Keith Lars – at a parking lot in the Northeast neighborhood on January 13 and fatally shot him in the chest and leg after the two supposedly exchanged gunfire. Court documents revealed Coppage had managed to track down the vehicle that was involved in her brother’s shooting and came over to confront Lars – armed with a gun, FOX4 reported.
Lars was in the company of his brother during the confrontation and the latter managed to drive off after Lars was hit. He later stopped a few meters away from the scene of the shooting and called for help. Lars, however, succumbed to his injuries despite efforts by paramedics to save him.
Investigators eventually located Coppage after screening through surveillance video and gathering information from eyewitnesses. During interrogation, Coppage told investigators she got in touch with the victim in a bid to try and make him settle a rift he had with her father, according to KCTV. And though she admitted there was later a gun battle between her and the victim, she claimed she acted out of self defense after Lars allegedly opened fire on her vehicle, a police probable cause affidavit stated.
Coppage was, however, implicated after investigators browsed through her phone and discovered she had sent text messages to a contact stored as “Auntie” requesting for 45-caliber bullets. In one of the texts, she wrote: “LOL I sued to many on bro.” Coppage also texted her deceased brother saying, “Sent a [expletive] to my brother I owe em that body.” Authorities also successfully matched the gun they retrieved from Coppage to the murder weapon.
Ugwuh’s death wasn’t the first time tragedy had befallen their family. In 2016, Coppage and Ugwuh’s 9-year-old brother and 8-year-old cousin lost their lives after someone outside shot into their home while they were sleeping. The suspect in that case is yet to be apprehended. Family members told FOX4 that incident severely impacted Coppage and Ugwuh.
“We have to come to a place of understanding that there are thousands of Missourians and Kansans and folks in our Kansas City metropolitan area who are suffering from this,” Damon Daniel , president of the Kansas-based Ad Hoc Group Against Crime, told the news outlet.
“This family is not alone. There are so many others that are out here that are crying out every day and whose moms or dads and brothers or sisters are aching with pain because they’ve just not received justice. They don’t have that sense of closure.”