A silver Dodge Caliber involved in a fatal drive-by shooting in August will never be seen on the road again.
The vehicle was parked at 20th and Messanie streets when three victims inside were shot. The deadly drive-by shooting on Aug. 9, 2020, killed 2-year-old Raelynn Craig and injured two adults.
Kody Cornelius and Tarri Salcado noticed the vehicle was being put up for auction. Cornelius owns Cornelius Wrecker Service in town, and he said he knew something had to be done before someone else bought the car.
“When I saw the car go for auction it kind of struck me, because I was worried about the family possibly seeing it on the streets in the future and it just continued the violence,” Cornelius said.
Cornelius and Salcado came up with a plan to use their resources to purchase and crush the car.
“Luckily he was able to purchase it so we could crush it and get it off the streets so nobody, especially the family, never has to look at it again,” Salcado said.
The car went for auction earlier this month, and while there was other interest in it, Cornelius ended up out-bidding others.
“I felt like it was best to do that, as a person, even if I did have to spend money to buy it. I did end up spending more than I thought I would have to and that’s fine, I just didn’t want to see it on the streets,” Cornelius said. “I didn’t want the family to have to see it on the streets, really. All the family.”
Community members gathered to mourn the loss of Craig and held a walk to celebrate what would have been her third birthday just a month after her death. The tragedy has caused many in the community to take actions in supporting justice for Craig and her memory.
“People need to remember who Raelynn was instead of what the car stood for, so at the end of the day that’s what everybody needs to remember,” Salcado said.
Three men have been charged in Craig’s murder and currently are awaiting trial dates.