Four years after Charles Severance shot and killed a beloved music teacher at her home in Alexandria, Virginia, the victim's youngest daughter is stepping into the spotlight to join the outcry over gun violence.
Carmen Lodato first put on her Moms Demand Action t-shirt last summer. She started going to meetings for the organization and Capitol Hill visits - just listening at first.
"So, for a long time after my mom was killed I was kind of in hiding. I didn't really want to talk to the media or anyone else about it except for close family and friends," Lodato said.
Her mom, Ruthanne Lodato, was one of three Alexandria residents Severance killed over the span of more than a decade. Severance fatally shot Ruthanne Lodato on Feb. 6, 2014. He is now serving a life sentence for the murders.
"I had been thinking, you know, I want to take this horrible thing that happened to me and try and, you know, make some good come out of it," Carmen Lodato said.
The 24-year-old agreed to have a bigger role with the gun control group Everytown.
Then, the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, happened in February - the same month her mom was killed.
Inspired by the high school students speaking out against gun violence, Lodato suddenly stepped from behind the scenes to the front of the mic.
"When I was 20, gun violence touched me in the most personal way. My mom was shot and killed opening the front door of our home in Alexandria," Lodato told the crowd at a rally for Moms Demand Action.
It was her first time speaking publicly about her family's tragedy and about the pain that never really leaves.
"It just completely rocks your world and it's something that you never really - you never get over. And I don't really think that there's closure either because my Mom's gone. She's not coming back...but I do this work to honor her," she said.
She also honors her by running Music Together for pre-schoolers, a program her mom founded in Alexandria. But her role as an activist is equally important now.
"This is kind of my life's work now, I feel like, and I'm not going anywhere," she said.
And she says her Mom would approve of her newly found purpose.
"She loved to help people and she always did the right thing even when it was hard and I fee like that's kind of what this is. This isn't' easy for me to do, but I feel like it's the right thing to do so I think she'd be really proud."