“This is a Hate Crime”: White Supremacist Stabs Black Man to Death in Kansas City, Receives “Peace Disturbance” Charge

A horrifying racial execution took the life of Jon Rone Jr., a kind, loving Black man who was brutally murdered in broad daylight by white supremacist, Sean Tonkin, outside a Kansas City gas station. The 36 year old white man told eye-witnesses he wanted to “f*ck up a n*gger” before stabbing and killing Rone Jr. To the family’s shock, now two weeks after the incident the white man only faces a “peace disturbance” charge.
Left Image: Sean Walter Tonkin, White Supremacist Killer; Right Image: Kansas City Gas Station

A growing wave of Kansas City community members are demanding justice after a hate crime occurred when white supremacist, Sean Walter Tonkin, repeatedly called Jon Rone Jr., a Black man, “n*gger” before viciously stabbing and murdering him.

Jon Rone Jr. (Facebook)

Th incident took place on July 4th outside a gas station at 14306 E. U.S. 40 Highway just before 2:30 p.m.

Witness accounts and court records offer a bone-chilling narrative of the murder. The vicious act was a display of racial hatred as Tonkin made his intent clear to multiple eyewitnesses. Rone’s sister recounts the harrowing words spoken by the murderer before he launched his attack, reporting the horrifying question: “Do you wanna see a white man f*ck up a n*gger?”

When emergency responders arrived, they found Rone inside the gas station, unresponsive and suffering from multiple stab wounds to the chest.

Nearly half an hour passed before police apprehended a 36-year-old Tonkin in Independence, MO, less than two miles away from the scene of the murder.

Sean Walter Tonkin Mugshot, February 2023

Jackson County court documents reveal Tonkin was allegedly found with a folding knife emblazoned with an American flag on the handle. Test results showed blood traces were discovered on the blade.

“Multiple witnesses at the scene of the cutting described that the cutting suspect was repeatedly using the word ‘n*gger’ prior to and during a verbal alteration with the victim in front of the business,” reads the Probable Cause Statement.

“Nearly two weeks after the killing, no charges had been filed,”the Rone family told The Defender in an interview, “[Sean Tonkin] is getting away with this.”

Rone’s sister (who has asked for her name to remain concealed) said her brother didn’t know the attacker and that given what Tonkin said to multiple eye-witnesses, it was premeditated.

Sean Walter Tonkin (Facebook)
Sean Walter Tonkin (Facebook)

“The fact that he said what he was going to do. He intentionally wanted to start something with a Black man. And that’s what he did. He stabbed my brother in the chest twice. This is more than just a murder, this is a hate crime,” she said. 

Shortly after The Defender’s interview with Rone’s family, prosecutors brought charges against Tonkin, but not for murdering Rone. At present, his only charges are “Possession of a Controlled Substance” & “Peace Disturbance.”

The prosecutor’s office acknowledges that Tonkin used hate speech before the killing, provoked the confrontation, and also that he poses a threat to the public, yet their conclusion is that the brutal stabbing and murder of Rone is merely a “peace disturbance.” The prosecutor’s arrest warrant reads as follows;

“An arrest warrant for Tonkin is requested as witnesses describe the Defendant using racially-charged and aggressive comments earlier in the day leading up to the incident, and immediately before and during the confrontation between the Defendant and the victim. As such, the Defendant poses a risk to the community.”

Read the full charging documents and probable cause statements here below;

Despite the severity of the incident, there has not been much coverage in the media; with what coverage there has been, it undermines the weight of the incident. An initial KCTV5 report didn’t mention either person’s race, and ran with the disturbing headline: “KCPD investigating city’s 100th homicide of the year.”

Screenshot from the KCTV5 report of the homicide. Headline reads “KCPD investigating city’s 100th homicide of the year.”

The Kansas City Star covered the stabbing more far more reasonably, but refrained from calling it a hate crime:

Screenshot from The Kansas City Star report of the homicide. Headline reads “White attacked called Black victim racial slur before stabbing in KC: Court Records.”

This attack has a deep significance given that it unfolded on the 4th of July, a day already laden with complex and heavy emotions for Black Americans.

This horrific act serves as a stark contrast between America’s clamors for freedom and the brutal reality of white supremacist violence and systemic racism that continue to plague the U.S. everyday.  

This is more than just a murder, this is a hate crime.

Jon Rone Jr.’s Sister

“I’m really trying to be strong and keep it together,” Rone’s sister shared, her voice weighed down by sorrow and fury, “but the fact that my brother’s killer asked this is really tearing me up. I’m so hurt and mad. I promise I won’t rest until justice is served.”

The loss of Rone is also mourned by his former partner:

“I truly don’t know what to say or how to feel. Thirty plus years of friendship and family taken from us! My first love and my first heartbreak. My child’s father! I can’t put it all in one paragraph. We both started this parenting thing 25 years ago. We were so young and everything happened so fast. We had our ups and downs but one thing we had that would tie us together forever was our baby boy and we both wanted the best for him regardless. Today I had to watch that same baby boy break down knowing there was nothing I could do to fix the situation! After all these years this broke my heart seriously because you truly didn’t deserve this!”

Jon Rone Jr. (Facebook)

As Kansas City prepares for the aftermath of this devastating tragedy, calls of protests and demands for justice are heard on the streets.

The Defender asserts our unflinching solidarity with the grieving family and loved ones of Jon Rone Jr., a life brutally cut short in the onslaught of racial hatred. We extend our heartfelt condolences and a firm commitment to amplify their call for justice.

The family’s GoFundMe reads “Jon Michael Vincent Rone Jr, our Father, Brother, Uncle and Friend was murdered on Tuesday July 4, 2023. If you knew Mike you knew he never bothered anyone, minded his business and loved simply. We the family need your help in securing his final arrangements. Anything you can donate we’d greatly appreciate and we Thank you in advance.”

Donate Here.

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