Latasha Shaw, a 15-year employee in UR Dining Services, was fatally stabbed while breaking up a fight Saturday night on the west side of the city.

Shaw, 36, leaves behind four children, ages six to 21.

According to Rochester Police, officers responded to a large fight at Dewey and Driving Park Avenues on Sept. 29 at about 7:30 p.m. When officers arrived, they found Shaw unresponsive. She was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Media reports say Shaw’s daughter had been in an earlier altercation and Shaw was attempting to get her when she was beaten and stabbed several times by a group of about 15 men and women.

Shaw’s stabbing is the city’s 39th homicide this year. Police are working to identify suspects in the case. As of press time, no arrests have been made.

Known to friends and family as Tasha, Shaw worked throughout Dining Services, most recently as a cook in The Meliora. She began working at UR in October 1992 and was assigned to dining centers on the River Campus and at the Eastman School of Music. She was promoted to cook in August.

“We are all deeply saddened by this tragic loss,” Director of Dining Services and Auxiliary Operations Cam Schauf said. “Tasha was a warm and caring employee who touched many lives on this campus. We will all miss her.”

Shaw was an active member of the Service Employees International Union and worked to assist other employees. “Tasha was a constant advocate for workers’ rights and fought to improve the lives of her co-workers,” Vice President of SEIU Local 1199 Bruce Popper said.

Shaw was vice chairperson of the River Campus Chapter of SEIU Local 200 United. She was also a union steward. Last week, she sat next to Popper as the union bargaining committee worked to negotiate a new contract with UR. The union represents approximately 1,400 employees at the Medical Center and River Campus.

Shaw will be remembered by her coworkers as a loving friend and a caring person.

“I’ve been here for nine years. I came here from the Virgin Islands and this was my first job and she was my first friend,” Hillside Caf Cook Helper Mia Burt said. “She took me under her wing. From union stuff to personal stuff, she helped me with everything.”

“She played volleyball with me, she came to my softball games, she was just a very likeable person,” Danforth Cook Helper Darlene Sanders added. “She touched many lives.”

Shaw’s murder has struck a chord with both the greater Rochester and UR communities.

The Rochester community has responded with a number of vigils and rallies at the site of Shaw’s murder. On Monday, City Councilman Adam McFadden organized a “citizens take back the community” rally that drew over 600 people from across the city.

“That could have been your mother.” McFadden said to the crowd. “The situation we are facing in our community, we are in a crisis… For those individuals doing negative things in our community, today it’s over. Our 39th homicide is not going to define this woman. She was a mother… She was not a gang member, she was not selling drugs.”

Several in attendance brought homemade signs that read, “Enough Is Enough” and “Stop the Killing.”

At UR, groups of both employees and students are collecting donations for Shaw’s family and handing out black ribbons in memory of Shaw and in solidarity against the violence that led to her untimely death. On Tuesday, the UR flag on the Eastman Quadrangle was flown at half staff in her honor.

A memorial and candlelight vigil will be held in the Main Sanctuary of the Interfaith Chapel on Oct. 11 at 2 p.m. Counselors and chaplains will be available for people looking for extra support and a chance to reflect on Oct. 4 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Interfaith Chapel Common Room.

Bruml is a member of the class of 2008.

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