Ohio grandmother, 89, killed by stray bullet while planning funeral for son
Ruth "Mama" Lewis was sitting in her wheelchair in her family's home when she was shot
An Ohio family is grieving after losing their matriarch who was hit by a stray bullet.
Ruth “Mama” Lewis, 89, was in the living room sitting in her wheelchair when she was hit on Starlite Drive NW in Warren, Ohio, on Sunday. The great grandmother was with relatives planning her son’s funeral.
“I hear people say she had a long life, but she wasn’t done with her life. She still was living her life. I just feel cheated. Someone cheated my mom out of the rest of her life. It wasn’t her time because when it is your time, you lay down and you go of natural causes. Not from someone taking your life,” said Patricia Lewis Mallory, the victim’s daughter, per Tribune Chronicle.
Her family describes her as a “pillar of the community” and has no answers as to why she is no longer with them.
The bullet struck her in the back around 7:30 p.m. It is unclear why someone was shooting into the home but the family reports seeing a silver vehicle and a white sports utility vehicle driving suspiciously toward Southern Boulevard. Witnesses heard several shots.
“Oh God, oh God,” her granddaughter exclaimed once she realized her grandmother was not breathing.
Her family says they want justice and they “want it now.”
“She motivated all of us,” said family member Shachara Lewis. “She showed us that we can be something; as Black people, she taught us to never give up and don’t allow people to stereotype us. She taught us to be our own bosses. She is always there with you, spiritually, even when she wasn’t there in person.”
She was confined to a wheelchair and could not speak due to a car accident and stroke back in 2001. But her family says she still enjoyed life.
“She was full of life, my mom was full of life,” said Lewis Mallory. “She managed to smile through all of that hurt. She was in a wheelchair, she couldn’t walk, she couldn’t talk. But she still managed to show that beautiful smile.”
In her younger years, Mrs. Lewis was an entrepreneur who founded R&R BBQ with her late husband Robert Lewis and was also an evangelist who worked at Packard Electric for years. She was active in politics and the matriarch of five generations.
“If people didn’t have a place to go, she would take them in,” said her son, Robert Lewis Jr. “When someone said they didn’t have any food and were hungry, she fed them … when they needed a prayer, she prayed with them. When people had children with problems, they would come to her and ask her how to deal with it. And she would help them with the problems.”
“She always reached out to everybody; she never turned anyone down. If she couldn’t do it, she would find someone who could.”
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