Victim in community center shooting was beloved by co-workers, students and neighbors


ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO – More details about the murder victim are becoming known as friends shared their special memories of Maria Lucas.

The 45-year-old para-professional worked for the Special School Distract at Ritenour’s School for Early Childhood Education for 15 years. Fellow teachers loved Maria and were too emotionally upset to give an interview. School spokesman Doug Bray talked on their behalf.

“When they learned this morning they were absolutely devastated, we’ve had counselor to talk to our staff,” said Doug Bray, spokesperson Ritenour School District.

The school district sent home this letter to parents, “In her many years in the classroom she helped many children”. Bray added, “The kids really grew attached to her we’ve heard from many families today that are very upset and distraught.”

The Special Education District released a statement that said in part, “Maria had countless friends at Ritenour and was beloved by many students and families.”

Fellow workers at the Maryland Heights Community Center didn’t know who the victim was Monday night and when people like Adriana Gonzalez learned it was Maria Lucas they were stunned that a woman who was such a positive light in their lives was now gone.

“She was always willing to help someone she was always smiling, laughing,” said Adriana Gonzalez.

Neighbors said Maria lived with and took care of her parents. Her mother died of cancer last year.

Sandy Morgan has known Maria and her family for many years.

“It’s just hard to imagine that somebody that was that giving and caring of their family would be taken away for no reason,” said Sandy Morgan.

Maria Lucas was single. She did not have any children but she did have many friends who were like family.

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