By JEFF CLEMETSON | La Mesa Courier
On April 15, tragedy struck the Helix High School community when two of its students — twin 15-year-old sisters, Caira and Leah Cristopher — were victims of homicide in their Lemon Grove home.
According to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department report, 38-year-old Dwayne Edward Groves Jr. was arrested and booked into the San Diego Central Jail shortly after the incident for two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of assault with a deadly weapon. In addition to the Christopher girls’ murders, 22-year-old Gary Paul Goode was also shot, resulting in non-life-threatening injury, in the Lemon Grove home and Joann Chantel Hoyt, whose relationship to the girls was unclear, was also shot at.
According to the Sheriff’s report, deputies questioned witnesses and learned that Groves had a prior relationship with the girls’ mother.
On April 16, Helix students and staff learned of the tragedy.
“It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that two of our 10th grade students have died,” wrote Helix High School Executive Director Kevin Osborn in an email to parents. “Our thoughts and sympathies are with their family and friends. We ask that you please respect and honor the family’s privacy during this difficult time.”
The school made grief counseling available to students.
Outpouring of support for the victims’ family was immediate. A GoFundMe page was set up to raise money for funeral costs for the Chistopher girls by their god sister Mariah Drayton, who wrote that the murders were a “senseless act of gun violence.”
Drayton also described Caira and Leah as the “Most sweetest and humblest twins you would ever meet. Always smiling and happy. And so loved.”
As of April 23, the Go Fund Me page had more 7,700 shares and 415 donors raising $20,145 — more than double the initial request.
To contribute to the fund, visit bit.ly/2KuWUla.
If you have information about the incident, contact the San Diego Sherriff’s Homicide Unit at 858-285-6330.
— Reach editor Jeff Clemetson at firstname.lastname@example.org.