A “pillar of the community” in Warren, Ohio was reportedly killed on Sunday (February 28) after a bullet struck her in the back while she visited family members to plan her son’s funeral.
According to the Tribune Chronicle, Ruth “Mama” Lewis, 89, was sitting in her wheelchair in a relative’s living room when someone shot through the window.
“We don’t know why she is dead today; we don’t have those answers,” her daughter, Andrea Daniels Talbott, told the newspaper.
Family members gathered to mourn her death on Monday at her Brier Street SW home. Police have not released details around the tragic incident and it’s unclear why shots were fired at the house.
At around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, numerous 911 calls were placed after witnesses heard several shots. One caller said a silver vehicle and a white SUV were driving erratically toward the scene of the shooting when she heard the shots.
Lewis was confined to a wheelchair after suffering a stroke and car crash in 2001. Her family says she was still able to light up a room and enjoyed life.
“She was full of life, my mom was full of life,” Patricia Lewis Mallory told the Tribune Chronicle. “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.”
Lewis was the matriarch of her family, consisting of kids, grandkids, great-grandkids and great-great-grandkids that numbered in the range of 150. Her family referred to her as “Mama.” Her family says she was active in the church as an evangelist. She was also an entrepreneur.
Lewis and her late husband Robert Lewis founded R&R BBQ and she owned a beauty shop called Magic Mirror.
“She was a strong, strong woman,” Lewis Mallory said. “She taught us to be strong.”
She was a “pillar of the community,” Mallory added. “If people didn’t have a place to go, she would take them in. 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.”
Robert Lewis Jr. says his family wants justice for Mama Lewis’ death and “want it now.”
“She always reached out to everybody; she never turned anyone down,” he said. “If she couldn’t do it, she would find someone who could.”