‘He was so loveable’: Father of Lake City man killed in Mexico remembers son on his 34th birthday
LAKE CITY, S.C. (WMBF) – A Lake City man who was one of two people killed during a kidnapping in Mexico would have been 34 years old on Thursday.
Instead of a birthday party, Shaeed Woodard’s family is planning a funeral.
James Woodard, Shaeed Woodard’s father, took time during a news conference to honor and remember his son who he described as loveable several times.
“Shaeed, he was loveable. My family is hurt real bad because he was so loveable, he had the biggest heart,” James Woodard said.
He said that Shaeed was his youngest son who loved to give hugs. And now, he’s just trying to make sense of why his son was taken away from him.
“He was my baby and for him to be taken from me like that, it was very hurtful. But I try to make sense of it and try to be strong about it but it makes no sense. It just kept going in my head that it’s a senseless crime,” James Woodard said.
He explained that his son went to Mexico with his cousin LaTavia McGee who was reportedly getting a medical procedure done and to also celebrate his 34th birthday.
But the trip took a turn for the worse when authorities said Shaeed Woodard, McGee, Eric Williams and Zindell Brown were caught in a drug cartel shootout and kidnapped. Shaeed Woodard and Brown were killed, while Williams and McGee survived.
- Friend warned police Americans feared missing in Mexic
- Apology letter claims cartel handed over men who killed Americans
- ‘Heavy hearts’: Mayor identifies Lake City natives killed in Mexico kidnapping
- Families confirm names of Mexico kidnapping survivors; both back in U.S.
John Barnett, the founderof True Healing Under God, a Charlotte-based activist organization, held the news conference on Thursday where he called for justice for the families.
Barnett said he doesn’t want Shaeed Woodard and Brown’s deaths to be forgotten, so he’s calling on the Biden Administration and Justice Department to step up and do something about the case.
“We’re asking President Biden, since this is an international issue, to step up. The Department of Justice, we visited them last week, please do something about this particular case,” Barnett said. “We’re not asking, we’re demanding. We don’t want anyone else to go to Mexico in fear they might not return home.”
He added that he is getting James Woodard in touch with civil rights attorney Ben Crump to help the family with their case.
Barnett also said they plan to hold a justice rally in Lake City to help gain support for the family. The date of the justice rally has not been determined yet.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help Shaeed Woodard’s family pay to bring him back and for funeral expenses.
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