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'She didn't deserve this': Cousin of mother, young children slain in murder-suicide asks for support

Randy Myers had fond childhood memories of his cousin, Dawn Gillard. He's heartbroken that her three kids wont be able to make memories of their own.

STANWOOD, Mich. — A Michigan family is grieving following the killings of a mother and three of her young children Friday. Family members tell 13 ON YOUR SIDE that Dawn Gillard (40) as well as Katelynn (6), Ronald (4) and Joshua (3) were shot and killed in their Stanwood home. Family members also tell us the gunman was their father. 

"She didn’t deserve this," said Randy Myers, Dawn Gillard's cousin. "It’s a situation I hope we never become desensitized from."

Myers says he and Gillard grew up together, spending time with one another during family get togethers in Cadillac at their grandmothers home.

"Childhood is, I would say, my go to when it comes to tough times, looking back on that." Myers said. "Sometimes that’s what we have. Maybe that’s all we have, but at least we have something." 

A father of two himself, he was looking forward to his kids sharing summers and making memories with their cousins too. He's devastated they won't get that chance. 

He said Katelynn, Ronald and Joshua were all beautiful kids, born into less than ideal circumstances. He said Dawn was the kind of person to put her kids first no matter what.

"Children don’t choose their life. They don’t choose their upbringing. They’re brought into this world and it's up to their parents to take care of them properly," he said. "Dawn did the best she could with what she had."

Myers says he's trying to stay strong for Dawn's remaining children, as well as the rest of his family, but he's struggling. 

His family needs support, financially, spiritually and mentally. Monday, the Morley Stanwood School District held a vigil for the family, and they've seen lots of messages and donations in the past few days. Myers says they'll need all the kindness people can spare.

RELATED: Vigil for three children, mother killed in shooting in Mecosta County

A Go Fund Me fundraiser has been created to help the family afford funeral costs, as well as provide for the children who survived.

Myers hopes that people will learn from the recent increase in gun violence. He said it was his cousin wasn't able to get out of domestic violence before it was too late, and he hopes others can find the support they need.

"In situations like this, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to seek out therapy, seek out counseling" Myers said. "There's a lot of people in this world that do still care and you have to give them a chance to know what you’re going through for them to be able to help."

Resources provided at the Morley Stanwood vigil can be found here:

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