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South Bend family mourns the death of victim in shooting

SOUTH BEND, Ind.- A family is torn apart after a deadly shooing at Elva’s Fiesta Club on West Indiana Avenue in South Bend.

Right now, St. Joseph County Metro Homicide is investigating the incident, while the family is putting this father of four to rest.

ABC57 first talked to the victim, Tolies Word’s, best friend on Saturday. On Monday, his wife, children and family members shared their memories.

With a combination of tears and great memories, they say the shooter took a good man and father away from them.

“I was directly behind him, seriously, I’ve asking myself how didn’t I get hit?” asked Shardae Word, the victim’s wife. “With him being right next to me it had to have been by the grace of God that I am still here.”

Shardae, now witness to her husband’s death, was left speechless early Saturday morning.

“My arms. My arms, my husband died, right there, next to me.”

She didn’t want to go into detail on what lead to the gun fire, but says she has to be strong for her children and other family members, “If my husband was here today, he would tell me don’t be a cupcake! He called everyone that cried a cupcake.”

“He very loving and caring and comical, I shouldn’t be crying because he called me a cupcake,” says Tolies Word’s Goddaughter Alayzia Maxwell.


Tolies Word was shot and killed early Saturday morning; that’s when police were called on to Elva’s Fiesta Club.

“My husband was my life. He was my best friend,” says Shardae.

The couple, married for four years, had just done some Christmas shopping and went for a night out. “Our last conversation was he just telling me that, he had curls for the girls.”

Jokester, family oriented and a role model for all, “He would always tell me whatever you want to do just put your mind to it, he’d be like ‘Okay princess,’” says Talasia King, one of his daughters.

The victim’s family says he always made sure his family was getting the best he had to offer.

“I never imagined being a widow at 32,” says Shardae. “Me and my husband were just talking about growing old together. I don’t know if it’s him I just have a certain saying that keeps coming over my body; it keeps telling me you have to be strong.”

On Monday, St. Joseph Metro Homicide confirmed there are no new details on what cause the gun fire or who the suspect is.

Tolies Word’s service and home-going will be December 4 at New Horizons Outreach Ministries on Mayflower Road, viewing will be from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

His burial will be at Highland Cemetery, following that his re-pass will be at the Amvets building.

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