Vigil planned to honor woman shot, killed near Stanton

Montcalm County

EVERGREEN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Loved ones are remembering an 18-year-old who was fatally shot in rural Montcalm County last week as kind and a loving big sister.

Destini Cunliffe was among two young women shot Wednesday outside a home in the area of Janet and Ann streets in Evergreen Township, not far from M-66 between Sheridan and Stanton.

Cunliffe was hospitalized in critical condition and died over the weekend.

The other woman, whose name has not been released, is still recovering.

“For her parents, I wanted to be the voice for them today,” Cunliffe’s godmother Shauna LaFave said. “They’re speechless. They’re mourning along with everyone in this community. They want justice for her. I don’t know how our family is going to heal from this. I don’t.”

Cunliffe left behind her parents, two sisters and a number of other family members. 

“She’s got two little sisters that are no longer going to be able to play with her in the snow and make snow angels. (She’s) not going to be there for all of their dance recitals and softball and all those important things,” LaFave added.

Michigan State Police say Cunliffe and the other woman who was shot went to the Evergreen Township home for some kind of transaction, but it ended in gunfire. Troopers arrested two people Wednesday but say they are still looking for others who were involved.

Michigan State Police are on scene of a shooting in Evergreen Township Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021.

“She had just saved enough money and her mom helped to get her her first truck. This was the first night that she had her new truck. So she’s just calling some of her friends to hang out,” LaFave said.

Cunliffe’s family plans to host a candlelight vigil in her honor at Townsend Park in Rockford starting at 5 p.m. Saturday. LaFave said there will be prayer and speakers. Masks will be required. Family said they have already heard from dozens of people who Cunliffe touched. 

A private funeral is set for 11 a.m. Wednesday at The First Congregational Church in Greenville. The family will host a public viewing following the ceremony from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

An undated photo of Destini Cunliffe, courtesy Shauna LaFave.

Cunliffe’s family says they are especially proud of their daughter for always demonstrating kindness. She was an organ donor, which they say is a testament to her character.

“Her mom, Brandy, was sharing a story with me the other day about how she took her to get her driver’s license and the lady asked if she wanted to donate her organs and she said ‘F— yeah, I do! What do I need them for?'” LaFave recalled. “Five people will be able to live and carry on and hopefully create happy memories just like she did because she was an organ donor. Her heart will still beat. Someone will breathe and run and play because of her.” 

Police did not offer any further information on the case Monday but said they were still searching for as many as four others who were involved in the shooting. Anyone with information is asked to call MSP’s Lakeview Post at 989.352.8444.

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