KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) After the death of their daughter three years ago, a Central Texas family is turning their tragedy into a movement of saving the lives of other victims of domestic violence.
“That morning we had taken Erica to work not knowing that would be the last time we saw her alive,” said her mom, Yolanda Shores.
On July 3, 2016, Erica White – at the age of 22 – was gunned down while working inside a Killeen Dollar General store by her estranged husband who also turned the gun on himself.
She had left him in California, moving to Central Texas to live with her parents and restart her life. She also revealed the abuse to her stepfather.
“She was ready to no longer be afraid, but to be open. She said because it’s going to cost somebody. Somebody is going to get hurt or die, not knowing it would be her,” Charles Shores said.
Now, her memory lives on by helping others through the Erica White Foundation.
“We want to spread the word about domestic violence and how it affects families and what to look for,” Charles Shores said.
The foundation includes Erica's mother Yolanda Shores, biological father Warren White, and stepfather Charles Shores. Part of their outreach includes monthly food baskets, participation in Feed my Sheep in Temple and hosts toy drives for families in need. Most importantly – providing resources for anyone in an abusive relationship to get out before it’s too late.
“It’s a matter of education. It’s something we don’t talk about as often as we should,” Yolanda Shores said.
According to the CDC statistics page, nearly half of female homicide victims in the U.S. are killed by a current or former male intimate partner.
“Unfortunately, we know it’s going to happen again. But if we can stop it from happening to one other person, then we’re making progress,” Charles Shores said.
If you need help, the National Domestic Abuse hotline is available at 1-800-799-7233.