Laurrissa Armstrong (Photo: Family)
Greensboro, N.C. - Laurrissa Armstrong wasn't just a victim. She was also a friend, a mother, a grandmother and a teacher. Her colleagues say she was like a mother to them.
Armstrong taught Home Economics for more than a decade at Welborn Academy of Science and Technology in High Point. Of course, she taught students how to cook and sew. But, her colleagues said she also mentored almost everyone on the staff, offering words of wisdom and always putting others first. When she decided to do something for herself by ending her marriage, she lost her life.
Police say Armstrong's husband shot and killed her. Armstrong tried to get a restraining order twice. However, two different judges denied that request. According to a court transcript, Judge Linda Falls said, "So, she's told you not to come over to her house unless you call. She shouldn't go to your home unless she's invited or called. But, there's no domestic violence here to grant a 50B. So, this matter's dismissed." WFMY News 2 has reached out to Judge Falls for comment. We are still waiting for a response.
Meanwhile, Armstrong's classroom looks and feels empty, even when there are students in the room. Colleagues say they can still feel her presence in the building she loved so much.
"Coming in here, something is missing. It's that sweet spirit," friend and colleague Eric Jefferies said. "She always had a word of wisdom for me. As we went through different things, she would talk to me about different situations. She would talk to me about life and how she enjoyed life."
Principal Naquita Brewington-McCormick said, "In everything that she did, she exhibited excellence...Because of who she was and the strength that she possessed, it encourages us every day to move forward and do what we need to do for the children, for each other and for our community."
Armstrong loved to sew, and would often repair students' clothes.
"We all are here blessed and fortunate to have had her in our lives for the time that we were given," McCormick said.
Few knew the battles Armstrong faced at home. Earlier this year, she had a heart attack.
"She was looking to improve her life. After the heart attack, she really got a new look at life. She started losing weight and doing things to help herself personally," Jefferies said.
Then, Armstrong chose to separate from her husband.
"She said, 'I'm doing this for me. I want to make a change for me.' She sacrificed for her family. She sacrificed for other folks for so long, this was going to be her time. It was just cut short...It was time for her to live for herself and she couldn't. That's the thing that really bothers me," Jefferies said.
Faculty members are still trying to decide how to pay tribute to Armstrong.
The Woodruff Family Law Group does not have a connection to the Armstrong family. However, attorney Carolyn Woodruff was touched by Armstrong's story and wanted to do something. She is proposing a civil restraining order that would allow a protection order with a lower burden of proof.
There will be a candlelight vigil in front of the Guilford County Courthouse, Wednesday, at 7:00 p.m., to honor Laurrissa Armstrong and other domestic violence victims.