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Former Mass. resident slain in robbery in Philadelphia remembered as ‘kind, caring person’

Christine Lugo, 40, was killed on June 5 in Philadelphia.
Christine Lugo, 40, was killed on June 5 in Philadelphia.

Funeral services were held Tuesday for Christine L. Lugo, a 40-year-old former Massachusetts resident who was killed during a robbery in Philadelphia on June 5.

Friends and family of Lugo gathered at the Dewhirst & Boles funeral home in Methuen Tuesday morning to pay their respects to the woman who was described as a kind, loving, and hardworking mother and grandmother. Some attendees wore T-shirts emblazoned with a photo of Lugo’s smiling face.

“My mom was a kind, loving, caring person... and very strong,” said her daughter, Frances Rodriguez. “She had her faults, but she always corrected them, and she always took accountability. My mom was honestly the most genuine person I’ve ever known in my life.”

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WCVB-TV reported that on June 5 Lugo was opening the Dunkin’ store where she worked as a manager when an armed man robbed the store and shot her in the head. The suspect, 39-year-old Keith Gibson, fled the scene and was later arrested after robbing a drugstore in Wilmington, Delaware on June 8, and authorities believe he may be linked to several other killings, including the murder of his mother, according to WCVB-TV.

Rodriguez said the last time she talked to her mother was the night before she was killed.

“I spoke to my mom last the night before it happened,” she said. “She was supposed to take my children for the week. Her and my brother were supposed to pick them up that day.”

Her son, Christian Lugo, said her mother really cared for her coworkers and customers of the Dunkin’s store where she worked.

“She would tell us about the employees...the ones that really stayed with her for most of her time there, she calls them all her babies,” he said. “She would tell us about her hard days, her good days, her regulars.... she loved it all.”

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According to her children, Lugo was born in Connecticut and raised in Massachusetts, and moved to Pennsylvania about 10 years ago. She had been living in Philadelphia for about five years, they said.

Rodriguez said her mother “didn’t like living [in Philadelphia], but she did like her job.”

“Mom didn’t really like to complain to us, she didn’t want to worry us,” she said. “We knew she didn’t like the environment, but there was never a complaint given to us. It was, ‘I’m okay. My house is nice. I don’t live in the worst area in Philadelphia.’ She always found the light in everything. She always tried to make the best of all her situations.”

Lugo’s longtime friend, Lisa Tavares, said she was relieved that the man who allegedly killed Lugo was in custody.

“I’m glad that another family is not going to suffer like this, because this is brutal,” she said.

Motioning to Lugo’s daughter, she said, “imagine this little girl, thinking she’s driving to go see her mother, to go drop off the kids, and instead she’s going to identify the body?”

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched (https://gofund.me/5d191c32) in Lugo’s memory. As of Tuesday afternoon, donors had contributed more than $48,000 to the fundraiser.

Christine Lugo (center) with her son, Christian Lugo (left), and her daughter, Frances Rodriguez (right). Christine Lugo was killed on June 5 in Philadelphia.
Christine Lugo (center) with her son, Christian Lugo (left), and her daughter, Frances Rodriguez (right). Christine Lugo was killed on June 5 in Philadelphia.




Emily Sweeney can be reached at emily.sweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.