GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The 43-year-old woman who was shot and killed on Christmas Eve has been identified by her family as Hope Cutts.
Cutts was found inside a residence on the 600 block of Cass Avenue SE with a gunshot wound to the chest. She died upon arrival at St. Mary’s Hospital, according to the Grand Rapids Police Department.
“I can’t believe I’m having this conversation,” Tiara Spence said.
Spence was at work when she received the call about the shooting involving her older sister, Cutts. The two had just spoken hours before the shooting occurred.
“My sister called a lot of people before the incident happened. She just said she wanted me to stop by and see me and see my smile,” she recalled. “I told her that as soon as I got done I would be to her and I guess I took too long.”
Police were able to identify a male suspect who was taken into custody. They haven’t released the suspect’s name as of Sunday night.
Spence says she doesn’t know much about the man that killed her sister though she believes the two met while she was living in the residence where she had been shot.
“It’s called the Well House. The neighbors don’t really know each other,” Spence said. “You can’t pick your roommates. You just rent a room.”
Well House of Grand Rapids is a nonprofit organization that provides permanent, shared, low cost housing to individuals in the community, according to its website. The nonprofit couldn’t be reached for comment.
According to Spence, it was her sister’s second time occupying a space in one of the homes provided by Well House. The most recent followed a breakup.
“She had to do some backtracking and was very disappointed that she had to do so,” Spence said.
It’s still unclear if there were other people inside the home when the shooting occurred. Police haven’t released a motive and the limited details is what’s hurting the family most.
“That’s the most stressful part for me is not knowing what happened. I want to know if it was an accident, if it was a scuffle,” Spence said.
She will remember her sister as having a big personality. The two grew up together with their mother. She recalled many memories of Hope taking care of her. They are 13 years apart.
“She always had me when I was a little girl. She taught me how to ride a bike. She taught me how to tie my shoes. She was a very good emotional support person,” Spence said.
The family has set up a gofundme account for people to make donations to help pay for funeral expenses. Spence hopes no other family has to go through the pain they are feeling this holiday and encourages people to not hold grudges against their loved ones.
“To know that I will never be able to talk to her or make any plans, someone is going to miss out on that opportunity because they are upset. It’s not worth it,” Spence said. “Our lives are borrowed. We are only here for a little while. Make it right.”
A 19-year-old is recovering in the hospital after being shot on Christmas Day just blocks from the Christmas Eve shooting.
Police say the incidents appear to be unrelated.
Detectives are asking anyone with information to contact GRPD at 616.456.3380 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345 or silentobserver.org.