When Nikko Manning was born June 22, 2001, he was premature and doctors told the family to consult with clergy and say their goodbyes. 

His mother, Nikkia Manning, says that Nikko was born with a strong spirit, because he pulled through after a short stint in the NICU. 

Nikko developed vitiligo at age 5, and as a result was a shy kid with a bit of social anxiety. Through elementary school he started to come out of his shell, and made a large number of friends. He was recognized with awards for being kind, polite and respectful. 

“He had a huge smile and was a joy to be around,” says his mother.

Nikko Manning poses with mother Nikkia and father Kenny on a recent Christmas.

The Manning family moved to suburban Blue Springs when Nikko was young. Nikkia says they moved to get away from violence, and to get a better education for their three children. Nikko’s older brother, Kenny Manning Jr., recalls the family’s home being peppered with shotgun pellets just before they moved.  

During his years at Blue Springs High, Nikko developed hundreds of friendships while playing basketball, football, and wrestling. 

Nikko set the school record in weightlifting by squatting 630 lbs his junior year. He volunteered at homeless shelters and took a trip to Jamaica his senior year, where he helped build houses and read to children. 

Nikko graduated high school in 2019 and got a scholarship to play football at Quincy University in Illinois, but after a year he returned home to help out his family. He worked as a carpenter, a laborer and a lead cook. 

“He was an extremely hard worker,” says Nikkia. “He was never unemployed and he helped us financially the entire time from the day he got home.”

As a young adult, Nikko liked to play video games and basketball. He loved dancing and had a hobby freestyle rapping with his friends. 

Nikko was a shadow to big brother Kenny Jr. They lived together for the past year and played semi-pro football together. 

“He was so goofy and fun to be around,” says Kenny Jr. “He brought life to a room.” 

Nikko had a passion for cooking. His friends would buy food just for him to cook for them, he made the spread for several Super Bowl parties. Nikkia says that Nikko was looking into going to culinary school, but his time was cut short. 

The family is now tasked with burying their youngest son, replacing their shot-up vehicle, and tending to a grandmother hospitalized from the shock of the murder. 

Kenny Jr. has set up a GoFundMe page to help the family with expenses. 

“He was a loving son, brother and uncle,” says Kenny Jr. “Nikko will be deeply missed and anything that you can donate helps.”

Donations can be made at https://bit.ly/3r6ZGWn.

Nikko Manning poses with mother Nikkia and father Kenny on a recent Christmas.

The Incident

Nikko Manning was out celebrating his 22nd birthday with friends and family at his cousin’s place, when a commotion began outside. 

His mother, Nikkia Manning, came outside to get her son and change footwear. Nikko walked his mom to the car and dutifully watched an escalating conflict while his mom searched for shoes. 

Then the gun shots started. 

“He tells me, ‘Mama, come on! Let’s go!’ I jump up and, apparently, I was barefoot, didn’t even know. He runs in front of me. I run behind him. A few seconds passed and my baby’s laying down on the ground,” says Nikkia Manning. 

Nikkia gave her son CPR until medical staff arrived, but it was too late. Nikko Manning died that evening. Jasisty J. Strong, 28, and Camden Brown, 27,were also killed and six others were injured. The spot in the car, where she was  before Nikko alerted her, was littered with bullets. 

The argument that led to three dead and six injured was reportedly started over a hug. 

Nikko’s older brother, Kenny Manning Jr., says that the use of a gun in the situation stems from cowardice. He says that too many are too quick to pull a gun. 

“If people could’ve hashed it out and actually conducted themselves as adults with a dose of courage or backbone, that would not have happened to my little brother,” says Kenny. 

The family did not know the shooters. Two individuals have been arrested and charged in the shooting. This was not the first time that tragedy struck this family. Nikko’s paternal grandmother was killed in a driveby shooting, and a cousin was also shot at a nightclub. 

Nikko Manning photos courtesy of Nikkia Manning

Shining a Light on the Victims  

With the near daily announcement of yet another violent death, it’s easy to grow cold to the fact that these individuals were real people, important in the lives of their family and friends and with futures – not always the greatest – ahead of them. One-by-one, their lives were cut short by senseless violence.   

To help make these individuals more than just statistics, we hope to help humanize some of them through stories in our pages.  We hope it will help make a difference, no matter how small.  

If you are the family member of a recent victim of violence and want to share their story, reach out to us at cvoicekc@tcvpub.com for both Wichita, Kansas City and other area deaths.