Family believes ex-boyfriend responsible for teen's death

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU)- Friends and family held a vigil for 17-year-old Tysiona Crawford who was shot and killed in South Bend last week. They believe her ex-boyfriend is responsible for her death and is now hiding from police.

Tysiona Crawford

The family said she had recently broken up with him and went to his place to pick up her things. They said he hit her and she left then he went after her and shot and killed her.

Police have not confirmed this information because they don't want to jump to conclusions until they have all of the facts.

"We trust in God we goin' to stand on his word tonight, we goin' to stand on his word until the day that they catch him because they're going to catch him," said Cynthia Crawford-Burton, Tysiona's aunt. "He can run but he can't hide."

Tysiona was a senior at Washington High School. She was on track to graduate.

"Tysiona was my baby," said Stephanie McElroy, a close friend. "She was everything. Whenever you looked at her, you looked at me. When you looked at me you looked at her. She was my best friend."

The two had dreams of going to college together. Both applied to Alabama together and were accepted. Now she will have to go on by herself. The two had been friends for more than eight years.

"The fact that knowing I will never ever be able to see her face again, hear her voice, see her smile, it's hurting me to the core," she said. "Lord knows I'm hurting, her family's hurting, the community's hurting we all hurting. We just want answers. Lord just give us answers we askin' for answers."

"I'm still in shock from what happened," said Briana Vela, another friend of Tysiona's since middle school. "She cared and looked out for others. She always had a smile. when you seen her she was always smiling and laughing. It was nothing but joy when you were with her."

Dozens gathered outside of the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center to memorialize Tysiona. They left a shrine of candles and photos of the girl.

"That night of that tragedy I keep asking myself, 'Why didn't she call me? Why didn't she text me?' I would have been there, I would have been there," said McElroy.

"How sick is this if you're hiding this guy," said Tysiona's father. "You all know who the killer is I ain't going to say no names, but y'all know and everybody know just as well as I know. Y'all need to take care of this because this ain't right."

"It hurt me to see [her father] hurt and this family is torn apart because of that," said Clifford Bonds, Tysiona's great uncle. "The mother's destroyed, the father's destroyed, the whole community's hurting from that."

At the vigil there were strong, powerful messages of uniting the city: the violence has to stop, it's going to take the community to bring justice and the cycle of revenge has to stop, we can't allow one tragedy to lead to another.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg said those words were a moral voice in the community.

"I want the family to know that an entire city stands beside them," said Buttigieg. "Not just their friends, not just people they know. The entire community stands at their side and we need the community to break this cycle of vengeance so that nobody else suffers like this. What you heard tonight was a really important message for the community."

Tysiona's friends say she loved dancing and to eat. She loved to go to McDonald's and get chicken nuggets with sweet and sour sauce, fries and a Sprite with no ice.

As of right now, no arrests have been made in connection with the case.

Tysiona Crawford's family tells NewsCenter 16 she'll be laid to rest on Thursday.

Her viewing is scheduled for 11 a.m. and followed up by the funeral at noon at St. John Church.

The 17-year-old was shot last Thursday night while driving near the IU South Bend campus. She then crashed her car into a home near Twyckenham and Hildreth.