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In memory of Alyssa Marie Neitz

On February 23, 2018, I lost my 17-year-old cousin due to an unintentional shooting. What makes it even worse is she lost her life to the hands of her 13-year-old friend. He was unsupervised with a weapon that took her life with one shot. She was innocently sitting in the backseat of her best friend’s car while the 13-year-old played with the gun, and it went off. She was hit in the temple and died almost immediately.

Alyssa’s family owned a marina and spent most of her life on the water. The river was one of her first loves. She always helped me because I wasn’t good at swimming. She wasn’t afraid of anything. Even as a little girl, her strong personality shined. She was so loved by her family, her friends, and her beloved boyfriend, Trevor. Her short stature is what gave her the nickname “Stumpy,” which she was affectionately referred to by most people in her life. She had the most infectious laugh and smile. As the five-year anniversary mark comes and passes, her loss is still majorly felt. I promised her mother I would never let her story be forgotten.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.