Jackson County candidate drops House bid after threat investigations surface

Detroit woman killed sitting in car was 'humble, sweet'

Ursula Watson
The Detroit News

Family members of Christina Janell Samuel anxiously await new information about the investigation into her slaying, two days after burying the 22-year-old woman who was killed when two gunman opened fire as she sat with a friend in a car early Christmas morning.

Samuel's brother, Christopher Moore, said Sunday he has heard police have good evidence in the case and that he hopes his family will get some answers soon.

Family members and friends listen to the reading of the obituary. during the funeral service Saturday.

Moore said the police wouldn't share details about the evidence, and Detroit Police officials did not return calls about the case on Sunday.

"It gives us hope," Moore said. "We are being patient and waiting for them to call us."

On Saturday, more than 100 family members and friends gathered to mourn the Detroit woman's death.

As rain mixed with snow outside, warm memories of Samuel filled the Miracle of Faith Ministries on Toepfer Drive in Eastpointe.

Before services began, Moore had only one description of his little sister.

"She is an angel," said Moore, 34. "Other than that, I am at a loss for words."

Moore said Samuel's mother, Tracey Toston, is having a difficult time coping with his sister's death.

According to police, Samuel was talking with a friend inside a gray Chevy Impala parked south of Eight Mile near Gratiot when two men approached the car just after midnight Dec. 25. One man was armed with a long gun and the other with a handgun. The two men were driving a black Nissan Altima.

Both fired several shots at the vehicle, said Detroit Police Officer Adam Madera.

Samuel's friend, a 24-year-old man, also was shot and remains hospitalized, Madera said. He said the motive for the shooting is unclear.

"She was coming back from school, from what I understand, and it's a friend she visits when she's in town," Madera said. "They were sitting and talking, as far as we can gather."

Moore said the family is hoping someone with information will come forward.

"People know what the right thing to do is," he said. "Somebody knows something, and we need to know."

The Rev. Theodore Peck of Miracle of Faith Ministries said Samuel was humble and sweet. Others who spoke lauded her kind, giving nature and her love of family and friends.

"She never met a stranger," said Glenda McCray Morgan of Detroit.

Morgan's daughter Shannon Morgan befriended Samuel while they were students at Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

"She was an amazing person who touched many lives," said Shannon Morgan, 19, who now attends Macomb Community College. "No matter what it was, the time of day or night, if you needed her, came to her, she was going to help you," Morgan said.

Ophelia Draggs, Samuel's aunt, said her niece would always visit her when she was on break from school. "It hurts. She was such a sweet person," said Draggs of Inkster. "I really hope they will find who did this."

Samuel, who went by the nicknames Stina and Jay, graduated from Detroit's Martin Luther King High School in 2010. Samuel, a straight-A student, went on to earn a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Indiana Tech.

She was the youngest of nine children.

During the service, Moore read a poemhe wrote about his sister called "Earthly Angel."

"Why did the baby have to be first to get her wings?" he said.

Moore told mourners that since her death he has had to pray "the spirit of rage and revenge" out of his soul.

"This morning I heard a song and it said, 'This battle is the Lord's.' "

Moore said he will work to see that those responsible for Samuel's death are punished.

"My sister was going to dedicate her life to criminal justice," said Moore. "And if it is the last thing I do on this Earth, I am going to make sure that the justice system works for her."

Anyone with information is asked to call police at (313) 596-2260. Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,500 for information about the shooting. Call (800) SPEAKUP.

UWatson@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2613