Broken Arrow Family Of Donnie Ray Crawford Talks About Their Loss
BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma - The family of race car driver Donnie Ray Crawford talked about their loss and the lasting impact they hope to create.
The 24-year-old driver was shot and killed by his own grandfather.
Crawford's Mom and Dad, who survived the unprovoked attack, are thankful for the love and support they're getting, but they're also heartbroken.
The family now wants to make a difference in the lives of others.
Like many parents who have lost a child to a crime, Donnie and Jodie Crawford are hurting.
"Parents shouldn't have to go through this," remarked Donnie Crawford, Donnie Ray Crawford's father.
At the best of moments, they struggle to hold back tears. At the worst, it's almost unbearable.
"A part of me has died, you know. A part of me has truly died," said Jodie Crawford, Donnie Ray Crawford's mother.
The Crawfords' son Donnie Ray was shot and killed Saturday by his own grandfather, 74-year-old Daniel Garcia.
There was no previous confrontation or arguments and no indication something so tragic would happen.
"He just walked up, and stuck the gun to his back, to the middle of his back and shot," Jodie said.
They say Garcia, who was killed in the struggle following the shooting, had a history of mental health and anger issues and a prior conviction for shooting a neighbor.
The couple had tried to help him, even letting him live with them.
"To go back and try to make sense out of this there is absolutely none," Donnie said.
"I look at baby pictures and I'm fine, you know, I can look at them. But when I get to recent pictures and realize that there will be no more of those pictures. It just breaks my heart," Jodie said.
Donnie Ray had a passion for racing. But he also found a renewed focus on his future outside of racing, and was eager to study petroleum engineering.
His family is creating a scholarship fund for drivers who, like their son, want to go to college after racing runs its course.
"This scholarship is for those racing people out there who have tried to make it big and they realize it's time to move on. I need to get in school," Jodie said.
The family wants something positive to come from such tragedy, to reinforce the need for everyone to treasure those they love.
"Cherish the days, because you just never know. This is the last thing our family would have expected," said Chassi Crawford, Donnie Ray Crawford's sister.
They'll miss his smile, his kindness. The way Donnie Ray was a little ornery sometimes, but in a good way.. as they struggle with the heartache.
"He did have the most beautiful smile. And he was the sweetest, sweetest son," Jodie said.
The funeral service for Donnie Ray Crawford is set for Saturday 1 p.m. at Rhema.
For those who want to contribute, a Racing Scholarship Fund has been established in Honor and Memory of the Broken Arrow native.
Donnie Ray Crawford Racing Foundation
PO Box 66
Collinsville, OK 74021