‘It’s traumatic grief:’ Community continues to mourn, remember Alief ISD teacher killed during possible domestic violence incident

HOUSTON – A community continues to mourn the loss of a 29-year-old Alief Independent School District teacher.

Sugarland police say Wendy Duan was shot and killed in her backyard. Investigators say the shooting stemmed from a domestic violence incident.

Duan was a third-grade elementary school teacher at Boone Elementary School. Former colleagues say she always had a smile on her face.

“Her smile, her smile. (She was) full of life,” Ereka Holmes said.

Holmes added that she met Duan while working at Boone Elementary School.

“She’s our family,” she said.

Holmes said the University of Houston graduate and teacher of the year recipient was dedicated to helping others.

“She just felt so happy to serve,” Holmes said.

They both volunteered for Social Good In Action, a local non-profit working to serve communities in need.

The founder of the organization, Martesha Haynes-Lagard, said Duan was a kind genuine, soft-spoken person, looking for volunteer opportunities.

“We all welcomed her with love and open arms,” Haynes-Lagard said.

Duan’s life was cut short on Sunday.

Sugarland police said she was found dead in her backyard, shot several times. They say the shooting stemmed from a domestic violence incident. Investigators say they have a suspect and are following a few leads to locate the person.

“This is really a very complicated type of grief. It’s traumatic grief,” Pierre Matta, Senior Clinician with Family Houston, said.

Alief ISD said they will continue to have grief counselors at the elementary school as long as it’s needed.

For students who may be struggling, marriage and family therapist Pierre Matta says it’s best to lead with patience when talking with children about traumatic situations.

“Check in with your children,” he said. “How are you doing, what’s going on, and ask open-ended questions.”

As for her friends, they’re hoping to finish what she started.

“Turn the pain into passion so her work will not be in vain,” Holmes said.

Matta says Family Houston is one of many local organizations offering low-cost or free services for families in need of counseling.

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