Victim’s family seeks safe house after violent murder in Waterloo

The family of shooting victim Lori McConnell is taking their grief and turning it into action.

McConnell, 53, of Waterloo was gunned down late in the evening of July 10 in a Waterloo apartment along with Chuck Andrus IV, 45, who also died. Karen Zdunko, 50, was wounded and survived. Emerson “John” Tohafjian, 48, McConnell’s former boyfriend, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and 15 other charges in connection with the shootings.

Although just a month has passed since their world was shattered, McConnell’s family members want to ensure that other families don’t have to endure the pain they have. They have met with state Sen. Pam Helming, R-54 of Canandaigua, about trying to bring a safe house to Seneca County for domestic violence victims. Lora Bennett, McConnell’s daughter, said they also discussed with Helming the possibility of introducing a Legislature bill to prevent violent offenders from being released from jail on bail, or at least enacting a 24-hour hold on their release so affected victims have time to make plans.

The family is also endorsing the sale of yard signs in support of their cause and organizing a benefit in mid-October to raise money for their goal of bringing a safe house to Seneca County.

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