There are too many scenarios to consider. Too many 'What ifs?'
What if Christopher Lawrence had stopped by his Foster Avenue home earlier in the day? What if taking home kids from his boxing gym had taken just a little bit longer? Did he have to stop at that house?
“You play all these scenarios over in your mind,” said Tiffanie McNair, 35, who was in a relationship with Lawrence, better known to some as “Country Chris,” when he was fatally shot on Aug. 22, 2011, in the 1300 block of Foster Avenue.
Lawrence, 39, was shot once in the back of the head while he sat in the back of his pickup truck, officials said. One other man, Kennie Brown, 22, was wounded.
Although Lawrence had a large following, and was said to be loved by many, his death is unsolved almost three years later.
“People are so afraid or just so into saying, 'No snitching,' or 'No telling.' ” McNair said. “When you have someone who has lost their father, their grandfather, their son … you can't pretend this didn't happen and keep your mouth closed. It's so hurtful that people would rather keep up this code of silence rather than offering someone's family member's peace of mind and closure.”
Lawrence had eight children. His oldest, Deandre Ware, 26, is now a Toledo firefighter. He graduated from the academy earlier this year. Ware will also have his first professional boxing match in August. Ware also played football at the University of Toledo.
“That's been a great accomplishment, having his oldest being a firefighter and also being a boxer,” said McNair, who is the mother of Lawrence's youngest son, Kyan, 9.
Lawrence's other children are Christopher Lawrence, Jr., 23; Deonate Lawrence, 21; Crishawn Lawrence, 22; Chrishae Lawrence, 19; Jhaela Lawrence, 13; and Shinique Lawrence, 12. Lawrence remained close with Brenda Clay, the mother of three of his children.
Deonate and Chrishawn have created several tribute songs to their father, which are uploaded as tributes on YouTube.
After Lawrence was killed, McNair said she waited a couple days to tell her son who was only 6. Kyan and his father were, McNair said, “best friends.”
“I didn't want to be the one to break this kid's heart,” McNair said. “He was like, 'Where's my dad at? Call my dad and tell him to come pick me up.' ”
Once her son knew the truth, he went from quiet, to angry, to sobbing.
One day he told his mother he wanted to go to heaven.
“ 'You know that means you won't come back and I won't get to see you until I get there,' ” she told him.
“That's fine,” he told her. “I just want to be with my dad.”
Police ask that anyone with information call Crime Stoppers at 419-255-1111.
About Unsolved Toledo: Unsolved Toledo is an occasional blog series meant to highlight and draw attention to unsolved homicides in Toledo and, occasionally, in the greater Northwest Ohio area. Anyone who would like to have a particular case mentioned should email email@example.com or call 419-724-6054 with contact information.