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Alpha ‘Alfie’ Smith, killed in Essex Royal Farms shooting, was a caring mother, ‘light’ of her workplace

Alpha Smith, 62, was likely on her way to work at a grocery store in Essex when she pulled in to the local Royal Farms just before 7 a.m. Sunday.

Police say a gunman pulled in behind her, blocking her escape, and then shot her through her car window.

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He then walked into the store and shot two others, one of whom survived. Later that morning, he would take his own life.

On Monday, friends remembered Smith, a loving mother who went by “Alfie,” for her positive spirit.

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“She was always smiling — always smiling — and always loved to talk to you, always made you smile,” said Rodcita Gray, a friend who took care of one of Smith’s daughters at a local day care.

“She would always stop at the Royal Farms because her daughter would always come in with either a doughnut or something from the Royal Farms every morning,” Gray said.

A GoFundMe page started for her family had raised more than $10,000, exceeding its original goal, as of Monday night.

“She loved boldly, and never complained. If she cared for you, you knew it, without question,” the family’s page read. “She would go out her way, and give her last, to help anyone. This is such a major loss for our family.”

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Employees and customers at the Food Lion in Essex remembered Smith, who lived in Essex across the street from the Royal Farms, as the “light of the store,” who danced through her shifts and worked to make everyone laugh.

Cashier Shirley Webster, 65, said she’s known Smith for over 10 years and the two were so close they called each other sisters.

“She had a personality like you wouldn’t believe, and she always got the customers to laugh,” the Essex resident recalled.

Smith would often work the express lane at the store, Webster said, and would frequently hustle people through checkout in record time — even if they were over the item limit.

The store created a fund for Smith’s family and in less than 24 hours, more than $1,000 has been raised, the employees said.

Tina Marie Rund-McGraw, 54, said she knew Smith for about 15 years. When her husband died a few years ago, Smith helped her grieve and always supported her.

“She was everything to me and now it feels like a piece of me is missing,” said Rund-McGraw, who cleans the Food Lion. “She always made you feel like you were on top of the stars.”

“She will be missed but never forgotten,” Rund-McGraw said. “Down here we’re all hurting but I know she is up there smiling down on us.”

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