Dozens Remember "Miss Ida" During Vigil | News
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Dozens of family members, friends, and community leaders packed a small strip of sidewalk on a rainy Sunday night to remember Ida Murphy.
Murphy, who was a pillar in her East Side community, was tragically killed by a suspected drunk driver, who was fleeing from police. Known as "Miss Ida," Murphy was famous along Buffalo's Fillmore corridor for talking care of children across the community.
"She would have done it for somebody else's family," said Fredean Honeycutt, a close friend of Murphy, said of the vigil. "So, we're reaching out to her family, to let her family know that she was loved in her community."
The story of Murphy's death is as complicated as it is sad. She was an innocent bystander who died at the hands of a man whom police had stopped minutes earlier. Her vigil was at the exact site where she was killed by a suspected drunk driver, Isaac Parker, who had been shot, perhaps by police, as he fled from them.
Parker smashed into three cars, and a utility poll, which fell on Ida Murphy, who was walking home from the store. Many at her vigil, including her daughter, had to fight back the tears.
"(We were) good, good friends," said Lisa Mitchel. "Grew up together. Our kids grew up together. She's going to be missed. She's a really sweet, sweet person. I'm going to miss her dearly."
While many of her close friends remembered life her, they also wondered whether her death could have been avoided.
"Hopefully, the mayor and the police department -- the internal investigation -- will find out why did it have to happen this way because I don't think Ida deserved it," said Don Allen, Jr.
Minutes before the crash, police had pulled over Parker, believing he was drunk. According Tom Burton, who is an attorney for the police union, while one of the officers leaned in to shut off the car, Parker took off, dragging the officer, who fired a shot at Parker. The police commissioner confirmed that the officer fired a shot and that Parker died from a gun shot wound; however, he would not say whether the officer's bullet is the one that killed Parker.
REPORTER: Was it necessary for the police to fire at this man, this driver?
BURTON: The important thing to remember here is that this tragedy here wasn't started by the police... If this man had just submitted to the officers, we wouldn't be having this conversation. This is an abject tragedy, but it was started by a convicted drunk who was behind the wheel.
Murphy was beloved by many, including Buffalo elected officials like Erie County Legislature Chairperson Betty Jean Grant and Buffalo Common Councilman Rev. Darius Pridgen.
"And so the best thing we can do in remembrance of Miss Ida is to pick up that same mantle, especially in this season of giving to make sure that somebody else is clothed, somebody else has food on the table, and that somebody else just has a kind word," Pridgen told the crowd.
While police investigate what happened, the two officers involved in the traffic stop are on administrative leave, which is standard procedure whenever an officer fires a shot. There is also likely to be a civil lawsuit. We learned the Murphy family has hired prominent attorney John Elmore, who was at the vigil.
Murphy will be laid to rest Friday.