Those close to Christopher Michael Grant, a single father, say he was trying to rebuild a life with his kids.
The 31-year-old wasn’t always perfect — since his girlfriend died, he’d had troubles with the law and spent time on the streets — but he wanted to take care of their two daughters and another girl he raised.
Grant was killed in a stabbing Saturday afternoon in Lincoln, and the girls are without their dad.
Police arrested 35-year-old Lisa Ramirez-Rodriguez on suspicion of first-degree assault and use of a weapon to commit a felony. She remained in the Lancaster County Jail on Sunday.
At about 2 p.m. Saturday, police swarmed the neighborhood around 240 S. 26th St. after a 911 caller reported a woman covered in blood approached him and said she might have killed someone, Lincoln Police Capt. Anthony Butler said.
When officers arrived, they found Grant in Ramirez-Rodriguez’s apartment with a stab wound to his chest.
Grant was taken by ambulance to BryanLGH Medical Center West, where he died later that evening.
If Grant’s death is ruled a homicide, it would be the city’s fourth homicide this year, according to the Lincoln Police Department. Lincoln has had five homicides in each of the last several years.
Grant’s family and friends say he and Ramirez-Rodriguez had an on-again, off-again relationship that lasted for several years.
Ramirez-Rodriguez filed for a domestic abuse protection order against Grant in 2007, but was denied when she failed to appear for a court hearing.
“She’s someone that kept bothering him,” said Marie Phillips, Grant’s cousin.
Ramirez-Rodriguez — whose son with a different man was placed in state custody in 2005 — has past convictions for drug crimes, theft, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and disturbing the peace, according to court records.
Phillips says Ramirez-Rodriguez was antagonistic, and that her cousin — who has at least one past conviction for domestic assault — was not an aggressor.
“He has a lot of friends, and he was a good person,” Phillips said.
Fran Kaye, a professor of Native American studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and friend of Grant’s, said Grant tried to stay on the straight and narrow.
“After his (girlfriend) was killed in the car accident, he just went really off the rail for a few years,” she said.
His girlfriend and the mother of his children, Crystal Fremont, died in a car accident on the Omaha Indian Reservation about four years ago.
After that, Grant left the reservation and moved to Lincoln for work, leaving his children with their grandparents in Walthill, about five miles west of Macy in northeast Nebraska.
The girls — Grant’s 7- and 8-year-old daughters, and an 11-year-old he cared for — didn’t see him for about three years, said their grandfather, who asked to not be identified in order to protect the privacy of the children.
This year, though, Grant started to rebuild his relationship with the girls, and planned to move back to the reservation, Kaye said.
“And now they’ve lost their dad, too, and they’re not OK at all,” she said. “All he talked about was his girls. ... Chris cared more about those kids more than anything.”
Their grandfather said Ramirez-Rodriguez didn’t want Grant to leave Lincoln, but Grant stayed with the family in Walthill for about a month earlier this fall.
When he returned to Lincoln, the grandfather said, Grant planned to avoid Ramirez-Rodriguez. Kaye said Grant came back to Lincoln on Halloween, and planned to leave again around Christmas.
Grant’s funeral is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday at noon in Macy’s Native American Church.
“He’s been a good friend,” Kaye said.
Reach Zach Pluhacek at 473-7234 or email@example.com.