Samaria Blackwell, 19
Samaria Blackwell, 19, was an athlete and recent high school graduate who dreamed of becoming a police officer, friends and family members said.
She was the youngest of four siblings and a fierce competitor for the basketball and soccer teams for Indy Genesis, a group that organized home-schooled children into competitive sports teams, the association said.
“Samaria was always smiling and cracking jokes. She was so loving, goofy, encouraging, and supportive,” one of her teammates said for a statement issued by the athletic organization.
“Samaria was fun on the court. She had a mean game face and when she put a mouth guard in, I wouldn’t like to go next to her,” joked Matt Barnes, the chaplain for the Indiana Statehouse and the father of two of Samaria’s teammates. “But when she stepped off the court, she just wanted to have fun. I know it seems cliche, but she was 19 and had the world ahead of her.”
Barnes said that her teammates called Blackwell “Stitches,” because she was once injured playing basketball and needed to be stitched up. She and his daughter Sarah often would sing the Shawn Mendes song “Stitches” together.
Samaria’s parents, Jeff and Tammi, issued a statement giving thanks for the “outpouring of love and support” and saying they were blessed to have such a “fun-loving, caring daughter as the baby of our family.”
They said she had looked up to her siblings—Elijah, Levi and Michaiah—and that they and her dog, Jasper, would miss her.
Samaria also enjoyed spending time with seniors, including many hours with her grandmother “Memaw Sue,” mulching flower beds and setting up Christmas decorations.
“As an intelligent, straight A student, Samaria could have done anything she chose to put her mind to, and because she loved helping people, she dreamed of becoming a police officer,” the parents said. “Although that dream has been cut short, we believe that right now she is rejoicing in heaven with her Savior.”