Early Monday morning my parents’ closest neighbor was shot to death at home. Her name was Kristina, and she was 29, just like me. She had a little house at the bottom of my parents’ hill, and they shared a driveway. Their orchard is practically in her backyard. Kristina was extremely kind to my parents. She was from their small town in Pennsylvania, and worked with her mother and grandmother at Peck’s, the local grocery store. Her house was on her grandmother’s property, the grandmother who my parents bought their land from. She had a dog, but I don’t know his name.
She was shot and killed by her mother’s boyfriend, who also killed himself. He killed her because he was angry at her mother, who had just broken up with him. He was mad at the mother, so he killed the daughter. He also shot Kristina’s boyfriend, who managed to stumble a half mile to a neighbor’s house to get help. The news reports had photos of the blood spots all over the road (a slightly outdated video is here). I wish he had come to our house, my mom said, but someone who is shot doesn’t want to climb that steep a hill. The neighbors took him to a hospital and he is fine. But Kristina is dead.
It’s a horror, my dad kept saying when I called him Monday morning. He sounded awful. He said she was very warm, and sweet, and everyone in town loved her. He said it doesn’t matter what kind of person she was, though, because no one deserves that.
I’ve been thinking about this all week, a few things running over and over through my head. I hate that there was gun violence so close to my parents. I feel ill when I think of bullets flying so close to them asleep in their beds. I hate that they can see her house from theirs, that they’ll have to drive and walk by it every day knowing what went on there. I hate that they might feel guilty, that they might think they should have heard something and woken up. I hate that this was the result of a sick act of revenge, and that Kristina’s mom is left to deal with the unimaginable wreckage. And, of course, I am sad that Kristina was killed. Her obituary is here. I don’t know if the town will fully recover.
It’s a horror. That’s all I’ve got.