Family and friends hold vigil for Tensia Richard near site of Cottage Grove shootingClutching purple candles, Tensia’s family and former Park High School classmates said she should be remembered for the love she gave to her two young boys and her friendship.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
Dozens of Tensia Richard’s relatives and friends gathered for a vigil Saturday in Cottage Grove to remember the 22-year-old mother killed in a murder-suicide two days earlier.
More than 50 people gathered in a field across the street from the strip mall where Richard was gunned down by her estranged husband, Chevel Richard, who then shot and killed himself.
Clutching purple candles, Tensia’s family and former Park High School classmates said she should be remembered for the love she gave to her two boys — 3-year-old Chavelo and 7-month-old Ace — and her friendship.
“She just loves her kids more than anything,” said Caitlin Thene of Cottage Grove, who graduated from Park with Tensia in 2008. “I admire her.”
Tensia’s two brothers, Michael and Juan Martinez, said their family was overwhelmed by the support they received as they grieved the loss of their sister.
“Her death was very untimely,” Michael Martinez said, “and something that none of us — not even her — was expecting.”
Michael Martinez said their father lost his only daughter, he and his brother lost their sister, people lost a dear friend and others lost the opportunity to meet “somebody who was bright, somebody who would love to make you laugh.”
“But above all the greatest influence that she has had … is and will be her two boys,” Michael Martinez said.
For some, Richard’s death still was hard to fathom.
“We’re in sheer disbelief,” Michael Martinez said. “I know I woke up yesterday morning expecting to walk upstairs and see Tensia sitting in her one chair she’s always in and her two boys playing in the living room.”
“And then it hit me again — all over again.”
Katie Burger, a close friend and former Park classmate, had talked to Tensia hours before she died.
“I didn’t want to believe it,” Burger said of the shooting.
Burger and Shauna Pierce, another friend of Tensia’s, said the 22-year-old should be remembered for her dedication to her two young boys and her friendship.
She was “just a happy person,” Burger said.
“An amazing friend,” Pierce added.
Juan Martinez said that with others’ help their family will keep going.
“We really do appreciate and are grateful for your thoughts and prayers,” he said before leading the group in prayer.