Family members described Gina Clarke-Lewis as the "glue" that held everyone together, but as loved ones gathered to remember the Temple University student yesterday, they thought of one person who couldn't let her go.
Her family believed that it was an ex-boyfriend who shot and killed Clarke-Lewis, 27, Friday night outside her apartment at The Landings at Lake Pine, in Lindenwold, Camden County. Authorities said she was arriving home from her job as a waitress at Cibo Bistro and Wine Bar, in Philadelphia International Airport, when she was killed.
Police, after receiving reports of shots fired, found Clarke-Lewis' body near her doorstep about 10 p.m. The Camden County Prosecutor's Office declined to comment on a possible motive or on whether any specific suspects were being sought, but Clarke-Lewis' mother said her daughter had been entangled in an unstable relationship in the past.
"This was a murder," said Brenda Lewis, of Brigantine. "This whole thing was planned out. Every time she moved, he followed her."
Family members declined to identify the former boyfriend but said she had contacted police about him. The prosecutor's office would not confirm whether domestic violence was a possibility in the slaying.
On Clarke-Lewis' MySpace page, she described her mood as "stalked" during her last log-in in January.
A Brigantine native who went to Holy Spirit High School, in Atlantic County, Clarke-Lewis was set to graduate from Temple in May with a degree in public health. According to her sister, Brittany Lewis, she was also an intern for Girls Incorporated, a Philadelphia/South Jersey nonprofit organization.
"She wanted to be a teacher," Brittany Lewis said. "She just had a way with people."
Lewis, also a Temple student, said her sister loved the university and had a large group of friends there, including former Indianapolis Colts defensive end Raheem Brock.
"She was my homey," said Brock, a former classmate of Clarke-Lewis' at Temple. "She was cool, a real close friend of mine. I'm sorry she's gone."
Brock said he'd heard that Clarke-Lewis had a "crazy ex."
A woman at The Landings at Lake Pine declined to comment yesterday, saying that Clarke-Lewis' death was a "domestic incident."
Tipsters are urged to contact James Pisano, an investigator with the prosecutor's office, at 856- 225-8400, or Lindenwold Police Detective Noel Cortes at 856- 784-7566.