PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A vigil was held Sunday night for a mother who was killed last month while trying to fight off a man who broke into her building.
Dozens of people gathered on Admiral Street in Providence to remember Mai Jweinat.
Providence police say the 50-year-old was murdered after Isaiah Araujo broke into the building she owned and then attacked her when she entered the apartment.
“It shouldn’t happen to anybody,” step-daughter Amanda Jweinat said.
Sunday night, dozens of candles, flowers, and pictures lay on the sidewalk as friends and family used words like loving and self-less to describe a woman they say was a mother to the entire community.
“Had he given her a chance she would have taken him in and done anything he needed,” Amanda Jweinat said.
“If he came to her and said I don’t have a place to stay, she would have given him a place to stay. If he said I’m homeless I need work. Even if they didn’t have anything they would have found something for him to do,” Alysha Jweinat said.
Mai owned multiple restaurants in Providence and Newport. Former employee Daniel Colley said when he was at rock bottom, Mai gave him a chance.
“She made me into the man I am right now. I’m was a wreck. I haven’t been the same since. She was a mother to me. I called her Mai Mai for Mama. She loved the whole neighborhood. She helped everyone,” Conley said.
The 20-year-old suspect has been charged murder, breaking and entering, and assault. Mai’s family says he took away a true angel on earth.
“The way this happened is very cruel,” Alysha Jweinat said.
“It was a cowardly thing to do to take a woman’s life as a man. Mai was special. We are really going to miss her,” Evelyn Bellos said.
Family tells Eyewitness News, the suspect is due back in court next month for a bail hearing.