Home Christian News LA Evangelist Killed in Hit-and-Run While Delivering Christmas Gifts

LA Evangelist Killed in Hit-and-Run While Delivering Christmas Gifts

Trina Newman-Townsend
Screenshot from Facebook / @Maryann Benjamin

While taking Christmas gifts to children at a South Los Angeles shelter on Saturday afternoon, evangelist Trina Newman-Townsend was struck by a hit-and-run driver. The beloved community activist, 62, was pronounced dead at the scene. Three of her foster children, who were in her vehicle at the time, weren’t injured but witnessed the incident.

Family and friends who gathered at a makeshift memorial for Newman-Townsend on Christmas Day described her as compassionate, generous, and selfless. Meanwhile, police continue to investigate the crash and search for the suspect, who left the scene.

Trina Newman-Townsend Was ‘Everything to This Community’

Prior to the crash, Trina Newman-Townsend had been distributing toys and food at a Christmas Eve community giveaway. Her husband, Curtis Townsend, says she “died doing what she loved to do”—helping other people.

“She was everything to this community,” says Pastor Kenneth Pitchford, a family friend. “Everybody is heart-stricken for this moment. Words can’t describe what she means to this community.”

Police say Newman-Townsend had just loaded her children into her car and was getting into the driver’s seat. Another vehicle traveling at about 40 mph reportedly hit her and her open door. That driver then proceeded through a red light and sped away.

“She was trying to help people, and she got her life taken away,” says one witness. A $50,000 reward is being offered for information about the suspect’s identity. Authorities say they’re searching for a blue, midsized sedan.

L.A. Activist Also Was a Foster Mother

Daughter Amarrie Nicasio says her mother not only fostered local children but also was raising some of her grandchildren. “She helped everybody,” Nicasio says. “She gave back to the community in every way she could. Whoever did this needs to step up and turn yourself in.”

The day before she was killed, Newman-Townsend had been making ribbons for the funeral of a childhood friend. “My sister was a beautiful spirit,” says Dwayne Newman. “Very soulful and generous person. She had children that she adopted and brought in. She was always giving to the homeless and charities. She’s going to be deeply missed. Infinity times infinity.”