BLOOMFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — A vigil was held in Bloomfield Wednesday night for a woman who was shot and killed in Windsor Locks early Friday morning.
At a park near Bill Lee Fields, people gathered to remember Lauren ‘Lela’ Leslie. They held a candlelight vigil and released blue balloons. Her brother tells us blue was her favorite color.
Friendly, beautiful, funny: just a few words used to describe Lela. They say Lela was a beautiful person inside and out and she was unapologetically true to who she was.
Dondre Leslie, Lela’s oldest brother, said at the vigil, “It took a long time for her to feel beautiful. My baby [has] always been beautiful so when she got comfortable she was able to show her beauty.”
The Bloomfield High School graduate, just 18, had big plans and a bright future ahead of her. She wanted to pursue a career in physical therapy.
Lela’s family told News 8 she was staying with her girlfriend and her family when the shooting occurred last week. The shooter was reportedly Lela’s girlfriend’s stepfather who later turned the gun on himself. Lela’s family told us her girlfriend is still in the hospital. They say she was the only survivor.
Lela’s family is still waiting to learn from investigators what led up to the killing and the reason behind the violent attack.
Police have not yet given us an update on the investigation or a motive.
Lela’s family told us they believe this was a hate crime.
Jordan Burrell, Lela’s uncle, said, “No matter what you do, love yourself. And this is not the end because everybody right now it’s like we’re in a club that we didn’t ask to be in. So we’re just gonna show as much love just give as much love that we can because without her we would not be here right now.”
Police have not yet given us an update on the investigation, but the family tells us there is a lesson to be learned here, that domestic violence should not go unnoticed and it’s best to accept people for who they are.