Her friends from Holy Trinity School in Georgetown lined up in the small church to hug the 11-year-old after the service.
In a shimmery white dress and with a face missing its usual, bright smile, the girl graciously accepted condolences from her classmates last week and used a tissue to dab the cheeks of her aunt, who cried as hymns lifted voices far up, past the stained-glass windows, past the balcony of mourners fanning themselves with programs.
The girl’s voice was quiet and restrained as she thanked everyone for coming to the funeral. Three weeks after seeing her mother killed, family members say, she has yet to cry.
It is the kind of selfless poise and strength she learned from her mom, Stephanie Goodloe, who was the director of youth ministry at Mount Gilead Baptist Church in Northwest Washington.
And it had to hurt to see the police cars outside her mom’s funeral at the church that meant so much to her, there to direct traffic and follow close by to ensure that the funeral procession made it safely to the Maryland National Memorial Park cemetery.
Because there was no protection when the man she considered a father allegedly stood over her mother’s bed inside their Capitol Hill home at about 1:30 a.m. on a Saturday in June and shot her in her wrist, armpit, shoulder and head.
The first gunshot woke the girl up. She heard her mom scream, “What are you doing?” Then three more gunshots. She told police that she saw Donald Hairston, 49, the man who had lived with them and whom she called “Daddy,” race past her room.
The sixth-grader, whose family asked The Washington Post not to identify her, ran into her mom’s room and saw the body, then grabbed the phone, hid in the bathroom and called 911.
“I’m going to be haunted by that phone call,” Jonathan Shell, a veteran D.C. homicide detective, testified in court last week because he could hear the terror in the 11-year-old’s voice.
Goodloe, like hundreds of women in America every year, feared her ex-boyfriend was coming for her.
She filed for a temporary restraining order against Hairston two weeks before she was slaughtered in her bed. According to her plea for protection, he banged on her door, slashed her tires and threatened her.
She called police again a few days later, when he kept calling her and banging on her door, violating the restraining order.
And she called police the day before she was killed. He had called her at work and told her she should leave the District because he would send people to hurt her, she said. Hairston said he did not care whether he went to jail, Goodloe told police.
“She did everything right. She kept a log of every time he called her. She reported it all to police,” said John McCrea, Goodloe’s stepfather. “I can’t believe she’s not here anymore.”
He said Hairston even showed up at the 11-year-old’s dance recital last month, when all the door-banging and calls did not get him inside the Capitol Hill rowhouse.
They were scheduled to go to court June 20 to let a judge decide whether the restraining order should be permanent. Instead, Hairston appeared in court alone, on first-degree murder charges, and Goodloe was in the morgue.
This is what deadly domestic violence looks like in America — a slow-motion killing field, a mass shooting over time. At least one woman is killed every day with a gun fired by a husband, a boyfriend, a lover or an ex.
About 1,000 women are lost every year to domestic violence, more than half of them — 52 percent — killed by a gun. Usually, it’s a gun in her own home, according to the Violence Policy Center.
Yet their collective deaths rarely generate the kind of grief and outrage as a mass shooting in Orlando or San Bernardino. Why, given the emotional, psychological and spiritual toll they take?
Goodloe, 39, was beloved in all of the circles she touched. Her funeral was standing-room only, packed with friends and family. A GoFundMe campaign has generated more than $34,000 in donations for her 11-year-old, who will be raised by her grandparents.
“She was just such a gift,” said Sarah Shoenfeld, who watched her 14-year-old thrive under Goodloe’s one-on-one care at St. Coletta of Greater Washington, where Goodloe was a patient and skilled aid to children with intellectual disabilities.
At Mount Gilead, she was the teen whisperer, one of the few adults who cracked the youth code and became a confidante and leader. She was also the day-care director at the Christian Tabernacle Church of God in Northwest D.C.
She worked at the charity Martha’s Table. She brought baked goods to all of her friends.
The service had an uplifting tone. A parade of people told stories about how Goodloe had helped them, inspired them, made them laugh, dried their tears when they cried.
The horrific way she was killed, the turmoil and fear she never talked about, was largely left unspoken.
“This was an evil act,” one of the speakers said. Another described the circumstances of her death as “unusual.”
The way Goodloe was killed definitely meets the definition of evil. But, sadly, the numbers tell us it was not unusual.
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