‘God had a plan’: Lyft driver killed in DeKalb was working to support 3 children

Credit: Family photo

Credit: Family photo

Her family worried about her working as a Lyft driver. But Lauren Sawyer-Allen liked the freedom it gave her and loved meeting people. Plus, she could work when her three children were asleep.

On Monday night, Sawyer-Allen died when she was shot to death in DeKalb County. She was 31.

“She was a beautiful woman,” her father, Joe Sawyer, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “She got taken too early, but God had a plan.”

Sawyer-Allen graduated from Norcross High School in 2008 and grew up in Peachtree Corners, where her father serves as a city councilman. A mother to children ages 7, 10 and 12, she had gotten married earlier this year, her sister said.

ExploreCops: Lyft driver fatally shot in DeKalb; suspect killed after firing at officers

Sawyer-Allen had worked as a Lyft driver for about seven years when she was killed in a shooting her family is struggling to understand. Joe Sawyer said he had gone shopping with Lauren on Sunday, and the two said “I love you” to each other before leaving.

Around 8:45 p.m. Monday, a passenger in her car got into a fight after Sawyer-Allen took her to Cedar Croft Court near Redan, according to investigators. The passenger fought with a man later identified as 23-year-old Lerelle Chatman of Lithonia, police said.

According to Joe Sawyer, Chatman was the father of the passenger’s unborn child. His daughter was an innocent bystander.

“It was just so stupid,” Sawyer said. “Why would you take an innocent bystander into that mess? That’s what hurts.”

Police said Chatman fired several rounds at Sawyer-Allen’s vehicle, killing her. A few minutes later, Chatman fired at officers at a nearby gas station, according to police. They returned fire, killing Chatman. The GBI is investigating the incident, typical protocol for officer-involved shootings.

On Wednesday, while her parents made funeral arrangements, Sawyer-Allen’s sister struggled for words to describe the older sister she spoke with every day.

“She cared for everyone,” Lacey Sawyer said. “She was very well-loved.”

Now, the family must endure the holiday season without the beloved daughter, mother, sister and wife. A GoFundMe page was created to assist the family with funeral expenses. Several people posted messages to the family on the page.

“Lauren was a beautiful person inside and out,” one person wrote. “She will be missed terribly, but a piece of her will always be here in those three beautiful children of hers.”

A balloon release in her honor is planned for 6 p.m. Friday at Lillian Webb Park in Norcross.

Visitation will be held Monday from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. in the Peachtree Corners Chapel of Crowell Brothers Funeral Home. The funeral will be Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Peachtree Corners Baptist Church. Burial will follow at Peachtree Memorial Park, also in Peachtree Corners.