Young Detroit woman gunned down after Christmas remembered for helping other young women

Posted at 6:51 AM, Jan 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-18 06:51:38-05

(WXYZ) — A young woman who lost her life to gun violence is being remembered for her positive influence in the community.

As Detroit police continue to try and solve the murder of Casey Willis, one woman says her story is so much more than how her life ended, saying she made an impact on other young women through an organization called Alternatives for Girls.

"I literally look at a person as a whole. I don't see you as your situation. but what you're becoming out of your situation," Willis said.

She was a freshman at Wayne State University who gave back to her community as a peer educator at Alternatives for Girls. It's an organization she herself said she sought refuge in as a freshman in high school.

As a young girl, she said a shooting she witnessed involving her neighbor shaped her world view.

"That's why I stayed in the house. I never really was out or hung out because I just had a fear of outside is just so dangerous. It's so big. You never know what someone else is thinking," she said.

Sadly, Willis became a victim of gun violence just after Christmas. She was gunned down while visiting a friend on Detroit's east side.

"I was just heartbroken for her family, and for her peer eds and for Alternatives For Girls and all her friends. Because she had a story, and it didn't get told," Barb Flis, the founder of Parent Action for Healthy Kids said.

Flis works with peer educations at Alternatives for Girls, and she wants others to know about Willis and the work she put in.

"We have to remember that everybody has a story and hers was significant. She took her trauma, and she wanted to get beyond it. and she helped others," Flis said. "There is a legacy there. We will never capture how many hearts it's touched."

Flis said if you're looking to get your kids on the right path, find mentors and peer educators. For more information on Alternatives for Girls, visit

Willis' killer has not yet been caught. If you know anything, call Detroit police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.