Kelsie Crow's aunt describes family's anguish

Posted at 12:28 PM, Apr 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-06 05:12:46-04

> WATCH Jen Segrist's entire interview in the video player above.

CINCINNATI – Kelsie Crow's aunt recalled the phone call at her home last year on Easter morning. 

Jen Segrist said she was preparing to host her large family's Easter gathering. Her husband took the call.

Kelsie Crow

"I could hear him saying, 'What do you mean she's been shot? What do you mean she's not going to make it?' And I remember sitting on the kitchen floor just falling apart," Segrist said, holding back tears in an interview with Scott Sloan on WLW Radio.

A year after the popular 17-year-old was killed outside a Sweet 16 party,  her aunt described the family's anguish in their first public comments Tuesday morning.

"Words can not express the pain and anguish our family and friends have endured in the year since her murder," she said.

And Segrist said she expects it to get even harder now that police finally arrested a suspect Friday and a trial looms.

"The senselessness hit home. This past weekend was probably worse than when Kelsie died because now I know what's coming and I know it's just going to be hard moving forward." Segrist said.  

Crow, a good student and talented soccer player,  was an innocent bystander, leaving the party with about 100 teens when there was a spray of gunfire, police said. She would have graduated from Purcell Marian High School next month and had been looking forward to going to college next fall, studying nursing and playing soccer, her aunt said.

Segrist said their tight-knit family could hardly bear the thought of family gatherings without Kelsie and not seeing her grow into "a woman, a bride, a mother."

"The loss of our beloved Kelsie is beyond words," she said solemnly.

But Segrist also wanted to share the joy that her niece brought to her family and friends.

"Her biggest thing was her laugh. She was always laughing. She just had this crazy laugh. There are times I think, if I could just hear that one more time. She was always giggling about something," Segrist said.

"She just was always very positive and very happy – a little bit on the goofy side sometimes. She was a practical joker to us so we were back to her. She was a little gullible at times. I could get her to believe something for a little while and then I'd have to tell her I was kidding," she said and chuckled.

"She was very responsible, ambitious. She knew what she wanted out of life. She's still friends with friends that she had when she was 4, so that says a lot – moving to the teenage years and still having those bonds with the kids you grew up with."

To many, Crow has become a symbol of the senseless shootings - mostly teens - that have gripped the city.

Segrist called her family "very private" and said they waited so long to speak "out of respect of the police."

"We just wanted them to go out and do their investigation and we didn't want anything from us to play into that. We wanted them to be able to do their hard work. The only statements we have made was for people to pray for the detectives and their continued work ... to get this violence in our city under control," she said.

Segrist, a nurse, said she planned to reach out to other families whose children have been victims, but up to now, her overwhelming grief has stopped her.

"I started to reach out to some advocates on violence. It's taken us a while just because our grieving has come in waves," she said. "We do OK for a little while and then something kind of pops up. We've done a few little fundraisers and then again the grief just comes back and it hits you like a wall.

"So I think when we get past this first year and the first of everything she wasn’t here for, I think it will get a little bit better and I'll probably reach out a little bit more. I've had a quite a few people through social media contact me with their story [asking] 'You guys have resources? Do you know this is out there?' And that's been really awesome."

Crow's aunt began the interview by reading a prepared statement. Two other teens were wounded in the hail of gunfire outside the Melrose YMCA in Walnut Hills, and she railed against the violence.

"That night some 60 shots were fired … It took only one of those bullets to erase what was a bright and shining life. Someone made the decision that night to arm themselves, show up to the party,  and pull the trigger. Such callous disregard for the life of a human being with no regard for the effects may have on others is incomprehensible.

"It is evil," she said.

"Sadly we are not alone in how this pain feels. The person who pulled the trigger owns the bullet and the consequences."

Police arrested 19-year-old Rico Mosley last week and charged him with murder and two counts of felonious assault.

"We hope and pray that the right person has been arrested and that the justice system will be fair and firm," Segrist said in her statement. "Our family simply wants closure. We need to heal and through the grace of God and eventually move forward. This past year has been unbearable."

Segrist said her niece's life "was an example for all. Though only 17, she was very responsible as well as ambitious. She had plans for studying nursing and playing college soccer in the fall. There was so much goodness in Kelsie's life and we hope that will be her legacy.

"Please pray for us and the families that share the pain that binds us."

Kelsie's family will still mourn, she said, always remembering what they are missing.

"We didn't need to buy a prom dress this year. There will be no graduation next month, and no need to prepare to send her off to college," Segrist said.

"We were robbed not only of her shining life but the opportunity to watch her go off on her own and mature into a woman, a bride, a mother. The laughter, hugs, opportunities to give her guidance and advice and those opportunities to say, 'I love you,' have been taken from us.

"Our hearts will be forever broken."