Stephen Washington’s family say their world has been turned ‘upside down’ by the death of the beloved 59-year-old dad, granddad, husband and friend who adored his two huskies
The family of a Plymouth shooting victim killed walking his dogs have paid a moving tribute to their loved one.
Stephen Washington’s family shared how he much he loved animals, especially his two beloved huskies.
They say their world has been turned “upside down” since the 59-year-old was slain by the gunman, reports Devon Live.
Stephen was one of five people whose lives which were cruelly cut short during the killing spree through a Keyham neighbourhood by the 22-year-old gunman.
He gunned down his own mother, 51-year-old Maxine Davison, at her home.
He then opened fire on people on the street, including Stephen, three-year-old Sophie Martyn, her father Lee Martyn, 43, and Kate Shepherd, 66, who was injured at the scene and later died in hospital.
Davison then took his own life.
In a statement released by police, Stephen’s family said: “Following on from the recent attack on our community on Thursday 12 August, we, the Washington family, would like to issue the following tribute to Stephen.
“Stephen was a friendly, outgoing person. He would help anyone at the drop of a hat, he loved his animals and was often seen walking his two huskies in the area.
“Stephen was a devoted family man, a loving husband, father, grandfather and best friend.
“Since the devastating events a couple of days ago, our world has been turned upside down in the blink of an eye and he will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.
“Our hearts and thoughts are with the families also affected by this tragic incident.
“Devoted wife Sheila described Stephen as her soul-mate and said: ‘Fly high, you’ve earnt your angel wings.’
“We request that our family is left alone to grieve the loss of Stephen in private. We trust that this is respected.”
It comes as confirmation emerged on Sunday night that police will be required to check the social media profiles of firearm licence applicants under new rules following revelations about the mass shooter’s disturbing online activity.
Social media posts and interactions offered insight into the mind of a man who was interested in guns and America, while Davison’s social media usage suggests an obsession with the “incel” culture, meaning “involuntary celibate”.
In the autumn, the government will publish new statutory guidance outlining how police forces handle firearm licence applications, which will include the requirement to check social media.
An investigation is already underway into Davison’s possession of a shotgun and a firearms licence.
The police watchdog launched an investigation following a mandatory referral from Devon and Cornwall Police, which contains preliminary information that Davison’s firearm and licence were returned to him in July this year.
The certificate and shotgun had been removed by police in December 2020 following an allegation of assault in September 2020, the Independent Office for Police Conduct said.
However, Davison’s firearms licence was returned after he attended an anger management course, according to reports.