BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–Mark and Lauri Wierzbicki have taken the tragedy of losing their daughter Rachael and turned it into something positive, and they have the support of the Western New York community.

“We are so fortunate to have the support that we have behind us and that’s a testimony to my daughter because she was loved by so many and she touched so many people’s lives this is a testimony to everything she’s done in her life, short life,” Lauri said.

Although Rachael’s time was cut short, her parents and community are carrying on her memory.
They held the “Let Love Soar” gala at Hotel Henry Saturday night, hoping to spark change.

Police say Rachael was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend, Shane Casado in November of 2018. There were 14 homicides related to domestic violence in Erie county last year. Rachael’s dad says his family wants to prevent more cases from happening.

“To keep the conversation going and to have people thinking about it and at the front and hopefully for me, as a man I’m disturbed by the statistics and I’m kinda putting the challenge out to all men, we gotta step up our game we gotta get back to protecting like we’re supposed to.”

Earlier in the week, the Town of West Seneca passed the “Justice for Rachael Act, ” which would create hearings to keep potentially dangerous criminals in custody before a trial. The bill is named after Rachael, whose accused killer was released on bail shortly after he was arrested.

State Assemblyman Patrick Burke said it’s important to keep up the momentum and keep fighting in Albany.

“We’re going to keep fighting. It’s a reminder that people know what happened to Rachael. They care about her, they care about her memory.”