Janelle Monáe’s Cousin Shot & Killed in Kansas City
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We’re sending out thoughts and prayers to Janelle Monáe and her family as they struggle to make sense of a tragic loss.

Natasha Hays, a mother of three and cousin to Monáe, was killed early Tuesday morning in a drive-by shooting in Kansas City, Kansas. According to The Kansas City Star, shots rang out during the wee hours of morning on the block where Hays lived. Three other people were inside the house when the drive-by occurred, but they weren’t hurt. Police and family members say they believe Hays was sleeping at the time of the shooting. 

Hays worked as a caregiver and was the mother of three and family members are still struggling to understand why it all happened. Marco McElwee, who is married to a cousin of the victim, told reporters, “She was a hard-working mother of three, she did not deserve this. She did not deserve to be in the predicament she is in right now — for us to be in the predicament that we are in now.”

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Yesterday, Monáe tweeted about the loss of her cousin, saying “Gun violence has struck home. My beautiful 1st cousin was murdered. She was a mother of 3. Loved by her community. #NatashaHays #sayhername,” later adding, “Hearing your uncle on the phone while he tries to make sense of his daughter being murdered is the most helpless feeling in the entire world.”

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The Kansas City, Kan., Police Department’s Major Case Unit is investigating the homicide and the family has asked anyone with any information to come forward. “We are still all lost. We are still trying to figure it out, man. We just know that it was just uncalled-for circumstances. That’s just what happened,” said McElwee. “She [Hays] spent the majority of her time helping somebody else, and she ended up in a helpless situation. The community lost a good citizen, a good person.”