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Democratic leaders remember Ted Lawson after fatal shooting in Lansing

Democratic leaders remember Ted Lawson after fatal shooting in Lansing
Democratic leaders remember Ted Lawson after fatal shooting in Lansing 03:34

(CBS DETROIT) - It was on Lansing's north side where Ted Lawson, a canvasser and the secretary for the Ingham County Democratic Party, was shot and killed over the weekend. 

The 63-year-old was passionate about advancing his party, and those who knew him personally tell CBS News Detroit his absence is a significant loss to his community. 

"He was very close to his house, and then it's my understanding is that a 15-year-old asked him for money and then shot him," said Brian Jackson, chair of the Ingham County Democratic Party. "So it's not really tied in any way to the candidate or what he was doing but being one of those random acts which is just such a tragedy, and you know there's too many guns."

Ingham County Prosecutor John Dewane confirmed Lansing police have the suspect, a 15-year-old boy, in custody. The Lansing teen will be charged as an adult with open murder in the shooting death. 

In a statement, Dewane said the shooting did not have to do with Lawson's canvassing or other political activity. 

Jackson tells CBS News Detroit that Lawson was particularly interested in political issues related to gun control. 

"It hits home to us as a close friend, and you can imagine how many other people out there who, when they lose a close one to gun violence, it's just it's tragic, and it's painful, and it needs to stop," Jackson said. 

Jackson says Lawson was out canvassing for Trini Lopez Pehlivanoglu, who is running for an at-large seat on the Lansing City Council. 

"Ted was a hard worker," Jackson said. "He put all that volunteer time in, whether at meetings, whether knocking doors, making phone calls, because he cared about his community. He served in the military in the past. He was a leader with his union at Meijer-- United Food and Commercial Workers. He goes into work at 4 a.m., works until noon, and then in the afternoon, he would either be knocking doors or working on updating the database of supporters and and just doing what needed to be done, not looking for the limelight, not looking for attention."

Leaders within the Democratic party in mid-Michigan and across the state made statements in remembrance of Lawson. 

Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes said her organization is "shocked and saddened by the loss of Ted Lawson, a committed volunteer who dedicated so much of his life to making his community and Michigan a better place for all. Our thoughts are with his loved ones and anyone affected by this senseless tragedy."

Moving forward, Jackson said he wants to see his community come together further.    

"We still need to talk with our neighbors, and losing that sense of community would also be an injustice that really wouldn't live up to Ted's memory, in my opinion," he said. "So, exactly what is the right balance going forward? We'll we'll see...We'll look to the facts to help drive any other decisions going forward. But right now, we're really just grieving."

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