A woman from Niagara County was killed in an apparent murder-suicide in California on Tuesday night.
Washuta, who previously lived in Youngstown, was a 2009 graduate of Lewiston-Porter High School. She was the granddaughter of Steve J. Washuta, the late founder of the Modern Corporations. Modern is a prominent company based in Lewiston that includes Modern Disposal, a waste management service.
Richard Washuta, Whitney's father, is one of the company's co-owners. The town also has a park named Washuta Park, which was created on land donated by Steve Washuta.
The Washuta family issued the following statement Thursday through an attorney:
“The Washuta family thanks all who have reached out at this very difficult time. Whitney is in all of our thoughts and prayers. Her loss to her family and friends is immense. We would also ask that at this time that everyone respect the family’s privacy and know that your thoughts and prayers are received and appreciated.”
Kyle P. Ramsey, 27, identified as Whitney Washuta's former boyfriend, was found shot in a vehicle about a mile away from where she was killed, media reports said. He was found holding a handgun and his death was ruled a suicide, the Times reported.
Washuta and Ramsey, of Pacific Palisades, Calif., broke up two or three weeks ago and he was believed to have been stalking her, Washuta's sister told CBS Los Angeles.
Watch the report from CBS Los Angeles:
The shooting happened across the street from the condominium where Washuta lived with her sister.
Neighbors reported hearing a woman scream "no" before the shooting.
Paul Casseri, superintendent of the Lew-Port School District, was principal of Lew-Port High School when Washuta attended and graduated.
Casseri said he remembers her as a kind, bright student who took a lot of Advanced Placement classes.
"She was just a great kid," Casseri said. "It's such a tragedy. Such a shame."
"All of us in the Lewiston-Porter community, we send our deepest condolences to the family," he said later.
Paul Moskaluk was Whitney's AP psychology teacher in her senior year. Moskaluk said she had "exceptional" grades and was a very good student.
"Initially she was shy in class but opened up to me and the class," he said in an email. "She was funny and had a good sense of humor. She was always engaged in class and showed a real interest in psychology."
Joseph S. Conti III, who taught Whitney's economics class, described her as "a well-grounded humble student who possessed a kind soul, an appreciation for her kinships, strong intellect and a proud love of her family."
Whitney was one of three of the Washuta children he had in class, coaching another, Conti wrote in an email.
As a teenager, Conti met Steve Washuta, and remembered him as humble and modest, a quality possessed by all of his grandchildren, including Whitney, he wrote.
"This is a tragic loss for our community, but most of all for the Washuta family," he wrote.
In addition to her parents, Richard and Gail, Whitney Washuta is survived by sisters Joleigh and Colbie, and brother, Broc.