A southern New Jersey town is reeling days after a murder-suicide took the lives of two active community members. Efforts are now underway to help the young children orphaned by the event that friends and family members have described as “tragic.”
On Thursday those familiar with the family are coming together to host a skating party for the kids, ages 5 and 10, with all proceeds going to their immediate needs. The event was organized on Facebook by Darnelle Ball Sr. who in the days following the news of the murder-suicide involving 28-year-old Tianna Drummond and 30-year-old Kristopher Corry, sought a way to bring the community together, reflect and collect donations.
“Ok everyone we have the holiday skating rink on Thursday, January 9th 6:30-8:30pm!!!!,” Ball wrote. “Proceeds from the door as well as the donation box we’ll have set up will go to the kids entirely!!! Everyone come out [and] let’s show the families that our community has their backs!!!”
The young boys, affectionately known as JuJu and KJ were not in the home when their parents died, as responding officers noted that only the two bodies were found in the apartment when they arrived.
Corry, a youth football coach and Drummond, described by friends via a GoFundMe page as “a wonderful daughter, mother, granddaughter, cousin, sister, friend,” lived together with their two sons in Burlington Township, NJ. Last Thursday, both were found dead inside of their home after the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office says Corry beat Drummond to death then shot himself in the head.
According to The Burlington County Times, police visited the residence around 8:47 a.m. after a neighbor called to report ongoing screaming coming from the apartment above hers. “This is crazy … I’m calling to make a complaint about the couple over us,” the woman can be heard telling a 911 operator on a recording obtained by the County Times. “If you come right now you will hear the lady screaming, it’s been all night. I didn’t sleep all night, me and my little son.” She further explained to a second operator that she believed a domestic violence situation was likely taking place, as she heard the couple fighting throughout the evening, and again early in the morning.
On Monday, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office ruled the deaths a murder-suicide.
Corry was well known throughout his community for his work with youth sports. Drummond is said to have often been on the sidelines cheering him and the children on. In 2018 the mom of two initiated a fundraiser to help send the town’s football team to the championships.
“After an amazing undefeated, unscored upon season, the Burlington City Blue Devils 85 lbs. football team have been invited to participate in the 7th Annual Mid-Atlantic National Championship Series which takes place December 15th and 16th in Richmond, VA,” Drummond wrote at the time. “The boys have worked so hard to get here and are well deserving of the opportunity.”
Now, a GoFundMe has been started in her honor to help with funeral arrangements made after her sudden passing. “Tianna dedicated her life to her boys. She was a sports mom and also an academic achiever. Tianna was in honor society, played field hockey and graduated from Full Sail University in 2016 with a BA in Entertainment Management. Tianna loved the beach, shopping, food, traveling and her family and friends,” the page reads. “We want to give her the memorial she deserves, to honor her memory and say our last goodbyes.”
Many in the community have looked to social media to express shock and disbelief over the death of the young couple. Others have used the moment to discuss the realities of mental health in the wake of the murder-suicide.
If you or someone you know is suicidal or in emotional distress, crisis workers for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK. If you or someone you know may be experiencing domestic violence, help can be found 24/7 via the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233.