Mary "Unique" Spears: Killed after rejecting an admirer
A normal night on the town for a close-knit family turned into one of horror when a man who persisted to harass a woman in the group opened fire on them as they tried to leave an establishment in Detroit, Michigan.
Mary "Unique" Spears was 27 years old and looking forward to a new life with her fiance, who was there that evening and fought for her honor. The mother of three was engaged to be married. But a bullet tore through that reality, ripping a hole in the life of a Detroit family and a community still seeking answers to a senseless tragedy.
Why was Mary Spears, who had a fiance, gunned down by a man whose advances she rejected?
The October 5, 2014 incident shocked those in the city, which has grappled with gun violence for years. The suspect, Mark Dorch, whom the family said they did not know, continued to hit on Mary "Unique" Spears for most of the evening, despite her polite insistence that she wasn't interested.
According to news reports at the time, Dorch kept asking for Spears' phone number and disrespecting her nearby fiance. Soon, her family members stepped in, and things got heated. Security escorted Dorch out of the building by taking him through the front.
They too were hit by gunfire -- five people were injured -- as the suspect sprayed a group of them with bullets. While other family members were shot, it was Spears who was fatally wounded.
What makes the shooting even more horrifying was the callous regard for human life the shooter displayed. "He shot her one time," Spears' relative said. "And she tried to run. And he shot her two more times in her head."
The Spears family was at the American Legion Louis Post No. 375, because they needed to unwind after leaving the funeral of another family member. Now they would be going to another.
Dorch was sentenced in June 2015 to 30-60 years in prison. During his sentencing, he apologized to the Spears family. "I deeply apologize for what happened that night, it wasn't my intention to go looking for trouble," Dorch said in court, according to Detroit Fox 2 TV station.
"What did Mary do to this young man, nothing," Belinda Bailey, Spears' aunt, said, according to Fox 2. "Only because she did not want to give him the time of day. That was her right."
Spears left behind three sons, ages 8, 4 and 1.