Tragic violence brings 2 families together
DETROIT – Dave Lawrence and Chris Samuel have spent most of their lives living just a few miles apart -- Lawrence in Grosse Pointe and Samuels in Detroit.
It wasn't until tragic violence struck both of their families that they connected.
Lawrence's 16-year-old granddaughter, Paige Stalker, was killed Dec. 22, 2014, when a gunman opened fire on the parked car she was in on the Detroit-Grosse Pointe Park border.
"I realize she's gone. But still, every day, you picture her coming through the door," Lawrence said.
Samuel's 22-year-old daughter, Christina, was also killed by gunfire. She died Dec. 24 while she and a friend were in a car on Detroit's east side.
In both cases, investigators said they believe Paige and Christina were not the intended targets. Both are still unsolved.
Dealing with his own grief, Lawrence decided to attend a vigil for Christina Samuel. It was there that he met her father.
"We were able to talk to each other differently than we talk to other people," Lawrence said.
They bonded over their loss and started working on a plan to make the streets safer.
They want to turn some of the vacant lots near where Paige was killed into a memorial for both victims and add a play area nearby for neighborhood children.
"We need to find ways to work together to make our neighborhoods safe," Lawrence said. "These people are going to kill somebody else, and their families are going to feel just like Chris and I feel."
An anti-violence march is also planned for the spring.
"Unfortunately, we had to meet at these times. But I feel that we need to try to reach out to get our communities together," Chris Samuel said.
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