Family, friends gather at vigil
April 30, 2009 · Updated 1:42 PM
By Dennis Box
A July 13 candlelight vigil marked the passing of a year since Antigone Allen and her three children died as a result of domestic violence crime at the hands of her 24 year-old boyfriend, Generao Garcia.
The mourners gathered near the site of the tragedy at 258th Avenue East and Sumner-Buckley Highway.
The vigil was the idea of Lisa Hansen, who was first on the scene that night a year ago. Hansen and Ardith DeRaad, president of Alliance Against Domestic Violence, organized the memorial.
It was a hot summer night, one year ago, at about 12:30 a.m., when a Lincoln Town car exploded into flames, rolled and crashed into a hay field, throwing a fire-engulfed Allen into the field.
Garcia ran down the road, also on fire, shooting at her until he collapsed.
Strapped into seatbelts in the backseat were their three children, Christine, a 2 1/2-year-old girl, Kristian, a 1 1/2-year-old boy and Adam, a 6-month-old boy. All three died of smoke inhalation.
The burned field again is green with hay and what is left is the memory and rebuilding of lives.
On night of the crime, Hansen, who lives next to the field, heard the crash and saw the fireball. Her son was having a slumber party with a group of friends.
"The kids started yelling someone was screaming for help," Hansen said.
Hansen called 9-1-1, then headed out with some water and a sleeping bag.
"Jacob McCord, one of my son's friends, asked to come out and help," Hansen said. "We jumped in my car and headed down the driveway toward the fireball. We heard Antigone screaming. The hay wasn't cut so we couldn't see her at first. Then the headlights shone on her. It was horrible."
Hansen jumped out of her vehicle and threw the water jug into the field, but Allen could only stand and beg for water. She was in too much pain from extensive burns all over her body to bend and pick the jug up, Hansen said.
The fence was electrified and Hansen couldn't squeeze through the gate.
"I told Jacob 'I need you to squeeze through the gate and go into that field and get the jug,'" Hansen said. "It was really scary out there. She looked like a childhood nightmare. But she said to him 'Honey, please, I know I look like a monster, but I need that water so bad."
McCord went into that field and retrieved the water.
"I held the water up," Hansen said. "She walked over to me and I was able to trickle water and she got a little."
While waiting for emergency personnel, Allen told Hansen that Garcia had poured gasoline on her and the children and lit the car on fire while holding a gun on her. She told her story, and then told Hansen she couldn't hold on for help.
"I reminded her about Jesus on the cross," Hansen said. "I told her there is hope out here, then I heard the ambulance."
Allen died that night at Harborview Medical Center. Garcia and the children were dead at the scene.
At the vigil, those gathered prayed, listened to speakers and a Scottish bagpipe player.
Allen's family members also attended, including her mother Felecia Davis, sisters Laveda and Lexi Allen and brothers Jarrett and Jerry Allen.
"I feel better for the first time since it happened," Hansen said. "I didn't know the family would be here. It was good for me to hug her mother and family members."
Allen's aunt, Sheila Dixon, said attending the vigil was the family's way of saying thank you to everyone in the community for their help and support.
Her sister, Laveda spoke for the family.
"I hope this tragedy will prevent someone else from being involved in a deadly domestic violence situation," Allen said. "I don't believe my sister died in vain. Please pray for our family."
Dennis Box can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.