GRIFFITH | A day after a woman was shot to death by her estranged husband in the parking lot of St. Mary's School, the community called for an end to domestic violence.
Tuesday's prayer vigil for Nina Castro was led by Pepe Flores, a youth minister at St. Mary's Church, who urged those in the crowd to seek help if they are in an abusive relationship.
"We can't let this happen again," Flores said.
Just feet away from the vigil is where Castro, 42, was picking up her son Monday at St. Mary's School in Griffith when she was shot to death by her estranged husband, police said.
Remanard Castro, 55, fled the scene on a motorcycle. He was confronted by Gary officers outside his garage in the 600 block of Roosevelt Street. Castro shot himself after officers ordered him to drop his weapon, police said. He died at the scene.
Nina Castro's son helped the school with an afternoon religious program. Her teenage daughter was also with her during the time of the shooting.
More than 50 parishioners from St. Mary's Church and Nina Castro's colleagues gathered around the church's statue of Mary.
Dr. Kimberly Arthur worked with Castro at St. Catherine Hospital and was one of her doctors. She told the crowd she can't recall asking Castro about domestic violence, but pledged to be more vigilant with her patients.
"She never looked sad," Arthur said. "She was a warm, loving spirit."
Deshanna Alexander, of Merrillville, was friends with Nina Castro and credits her for motivating her to go back to school.
A tearful Alexander told the crowd to keep Nina Castro's children in her prayers. She said her friend would be grateful for their support.
Overwhelmed with emotion, Alexander stepped away from the front of the crowd and hugged Arthur.
After the vigil, Alexander said she last spoke to Nina Castro on April 16, when the two joked about Vera Bradley bags. Alexander said she knew her friend was going through problems with her estranged husband, but Nina Castro never dwelled on unhappy times.
"She was just happy helping others and maintaining her family," Alexander said. "She was content with that. She was just sweet, a big heart, willing to help anyone in need."