A mother and grandmother was shot to death over the weekend in Southeast D.C. while trying to protect her granddaughter during an attack, police and family members say.
At 71 years old, Sheila Lucas’ children thought the coronavirus was the biggest threat to their mother's life.
But it was another of the District’s ills that took her life: gun violence.
"Me ever thinking that my mom would be somewhere trying to help, protect and then be shot in the head for something senseless? Never crossed our mind. That was never even a thought that we would even have," Lucas' son Robert Alston Jr. said.
Alston is one of Lucas’ 10 children, four of whom were adopted.
The single mom and former assistant nurse raised them in D.C. and lived in the same Southeast neighborhood for nearly three decades.
"To lose your support, to lose your everything, to lose your queen - I don’t think you ever can respond to how that makes you feel," Alston said.
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Lucas was shot and killed Saturday night.
Police say she was trying to pull her granddaughter out of a dispute that began inside the Giant store on Savannah Street SE.
"As I'm trying to bring peace, you put a gun up and shoot a 71-year-old woman in the head? I can't fathom that," Alston said.
Lucas was one of four people killed in D.C. over the Memorial Day weekend.
Police Chief Peter Newsham said violent crime is down in D.C. by 10% compared to this time last year. Robberies and burglaries have fallen too, however, there are 61 homicides so far this year — three more than there were by this time in 2019.
"We’re going to continue to work removing these illegal firearms from the community and addressing the repeat violent offenders," Newsham said.
Police and the family are asking for any witnesses to Lucas' killing to come forward.
"We’re not out for vengeance. We’re not out to see any harm to you because we don’t want your family to feel how we feel. We just want you to be a sensible human being and turn yourself in so justice can be served," Alston said.