Friends and family remember the life of Lauren Landavazo

Family Remembers Lauren Landavazo
Family Remembers Lauren Landavazo

WICHITA FALLS, TX - Saturday marks the one year anniversary of the death of 13-year-old Lauren Landavazo, who was shot and killed walking home from school in Wichita Falls.

The teen and her friend Makayla Smith were leaving McNiel Middle School, when a gunman shot them both of them, killing Lauren and injuring Makayla.

That day shook the community and is one many Texomans will never forget.

Lauren's loved ones are making sure her legacy lives on as we honor the young life that was taken too soon with the first ever Lauren Landavazo day in Wichita Falls.

Her favorite place was Castaway Cove Water park, where families and friends met Saturday to remember the impact she had.

One thing they all said was Lauren always had them laughing.

"In the mornings I would get to school and we would wait for like the bell to ring," said Renelle Rushatsi, a friend of Lauren.  "She would make jokes about our weekends and stuff like that."

"A ham actress," said her grandfather, Don Landavazo.  "Even at an early age, she knew how to put on a show."

"You could make her cry at a drop of a hat by saying 'bubbles', said her grandmother, Faye Landavazo.  "I don't know what it was about 'bubbles'.  You could point to her dog and say 'bubbles' and she was out."

A year ago, her life was lost in a tragic shooting.

A parent's worst nightmare.

Saturday, with hugs, purple bracelets, and a signed picture of she and her dad, Vern Landavazo her memory lives on.

"When you lose a child you just don't ever want people to forget her," said Vern Landavazo.  "We know anyone who was there that day will never forget what happened and they'll never forget Lauren.  It's just so important for us to be able to see that people still love her and still remember her."

Those who love her most know that with the help from the Wichita Falls community her spirit lives.

"The people that were touched by her to come out here and remember her and celebrate her life, that's what gets us through the day is the support we get from family and friends," said Vern Landavazo.

"Complete strangers really touch my heart, that's her special magic," said Don Landavazo.

"Seeing the purple around the neighborhood like on the trees of purple ribbons and stuff just makes me think of her," said Kyrah Catlin, another friend of Lauren.

Lauren's parents want to see their daughter's memory continue through others.

"To be able to laugh, to love, and live and everything that goes into that," said Vern Landavazo.  "Realize that has nothing to do with material things it's really about people and relationships and enjoying the natural beauty of diversity in the world.  Lauren is great at that, and it's reflected in her friends, the people that knew her just so many people were touched by her.  That spirit and that laugh love live symbol just seems to capture that the best."

On Saturday at McNiel Middle School, there was a balloon release in Lauren's honor.
At the memorial was also an area to make donations to P.E.T.S Low-Cost Spay and Neuter, one of Landavazo's favorite organizations.

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