INDIANAPOLIS — The family of Samaria Blackwell released a statement Monday thanking people for their support in the days since their daughter was killed in the April 15 mass shooting at a FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis.
Blackwell, 19, was one of eight people who died in the shooting. Her father, Jeff, called Samaria "the baby of our family."
"While her race in this life was short, she lived it to the fullest. She was funny, thoughtful, and sincere. To know her was to love her," Jeff Blackwell wrote.
Nicknamed "Stiches," Samaria Blackwell played basketball and soccer and grew up in Beech Grove.
Her passion also extended to law enforcement. When Avon Police Department Deputy Chief Brian Nugent learned about Samaria's dream of becoming a police officer, he worked with his department to find a way to honor her by collecting patches from law enforcement agencies from around to the country to eventually give to her family.
Read the statement from her family below:
My name is Jeff Blackwell and I am Samaria's dad. On behalf of our family I want to say thank you to all who have demonstrated such incredible love to our family the past 10 days or so. We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. Your love has reached through the fog of our sorrow and has been felt. We covet your prayers going forward as well.
Samaria was the baby of our family. We loved her with all our hearts and long for the day when we can see her again. We have hope because we believe in the promises of God, and while we cannot bring her back, we can go to her. Samaria wasn't perfect, she recognized her need for a Savior, put her faith in Jesus Christ, and was baptized at a young age. The Bible says that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. The Scriptures also say that weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
We look forward to that joy, but until then we will honor Samaria's memory. While her race in this life was short, she lived it to the fullest. She was funny, thoughtful, and sincere. To know her was to love her. We hope that everyone who hears my words will experience the love of God as we have, and will be able to spend eternity with Jesus and with Samaria.
We want to thank the IMPD officers and chaplains especially Orlando Jordan who sat with us while we waited for the news as well as Beverly Wilson and Helen Jackson who serve as Victim Assistance Counselors with the IMPD. They went above and beyond their duty to serve our family.
We are praying for the officers who had to process the crime scene. In all of our interactions with IMPD we found them to be professional, compassionate, and caring. They embodied the reasons Samaria wanted to join their ranks and we will never forget their kindness.
We also want to say that we are praying for all of the other families who are experiencing this horrible loss. We especially want to say that we are praying for the Hole family. I cannot imagine how your grief is doubled. We pray that God's love will surround you and you will sense His presence in a profound way.
I will close with a few Bible verses that Samaria had picked out for her basketball senior night ceremony - Romans 8:37-39
"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."