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Ingham County Democrats react to shooting death of colleague

Rep. Elissa Slotkin speaking into a microphone on a podium that reads "Stop Gun Violence Now" A group of people are behind her.
Rep. Elissa Slotkin/Twitter
Earlier this year, U.S. Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin spoke against gun violence in Washington, D.C.

Democratic leaders in Lansing are mourning the shooting death of Theodore “Ted” Lawson, remembering the Ingham County Democratic Party secretary as a “leader.”

According to the Lansing Police Department, the 63-year-old was found with a gunshot wound on Jenison Street Sunday afternoon. Lawson was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. On Tuesday, LPD announced a 15-year-male suspect was in custody.

Michigan Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin posted on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, that Lawson had been canvassing at the time of the shooting.

“Ted was one of the most involved community members I’ve ever met and regularly volunteered his time for projects that improved mid-Michigan,” Slotkin’s post said. “This is a huge blow to the Lansing community, and my heart goes out to Ted’s loved ones and all who knew him.”

A man with glasses in a suit.
Ingham County Democratic Party
Ted Lawson died October 8, 2023. He was 63-years-old.

Brian Jackson, Chair of the Ingham County Democratic Party, said Lawson’s death came as a shock after he found out about the incident via email.

“It's that gut punch, you know? That loss of breath. And you're just like, ‘this is unbelievable.’ And then over a few minutes, you realize that it's occurring now,” he said.

Jackson met Lawson more than a decade ago, when the future party secretary was working at the meat department of a local Meijer store. After Lawson became more active in Democratic politics in the 2010s, Jackson said many took notice, with party officials often changing meeting times to plan around him.

“We would try to avoid scheduling meetings during New Orleans football games. He was a massive New Orlean Saints fan,” Jackson recalled.

The Ingham County Democratic Party is still assessing if the shooting will impact campaigning ahead of Election Day on November 7.

“We will certainly wait for the facts to come out and determine what is the best course of action going forward,” Jackson said.

Ingham County Democrats will be holding their final scheduled meeting of the year on Wednesday.

“It’s going to be more of a wake than a meeting,” Jackson said. “We’ll be coming together for the first time as a county party after this tragedy and getting together to support one another.”

For now, Jackson said the party’s priority is advocating for safer gun legislation.

“There is no playbook. We're working and communicating with each other to help determine what feels right, and really supporting the legacy of what Ted would want us to do,” Jackson said. “We need to stop this madness.”

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