Houston attorney's daughter saves lives thanks to organ donations after tragic shooting death

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston family is turning their heartbreak into the gift of life.

Prominent Houston attorney Chris Tritico's daughter was shot and killed last December, but her death is now helping save lives of others, including one person very close to the Tritico family.

Chris says he always knows what to do. As an attorney, that's his strength.

But when he got the call that his daughter had been shot in Florida, he says he went black and felt helpless.

Maria Tritico and her fiancé were on the beach playing ultimate frisbee on December 6, 2020 when a stray bullet hit Maria in the head.

Police say a gang member shot at a rival group.

In Houston, Chris and Debbie Tritico got the call, and six hours later they were in a Florida hospital saying goodbye to their 32-year-old daughter.

The parents were told Maria signed up to be an organ donor. Doctors asked if they knew anyone who needed an organ.

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A husband and wife, a boss and her employee, a mother and son, two sisters, and two cousins now have a life-long bond.

They did: Donna Hawkins, a Harris County prosecutor.

Donna and Chris were longtime rivals in the courtroom, but friends for 30 years. Donna had been struggling with a painful kidney disease.

Amazingly, she and Maria were a match.

"Happy that I was going to live and make it, and still incredibly devastated for them," Donna recalled.

"That's the only thing we had, the only thing in this nightmare we could hold on to, is that something good was happening," Debbie said. "That she was a miracle for somebody else"

"We're going to be sad for the rest of our lives that our daughter died, but in that moment of sadness, her death gave Donna and three other people life," Chris said.

Maria's kidneys, liver and lungs were all successfully donated after her death, helping to save multiple lives. Families get to hold on to their loved ones for longer because of Maria.

Right now, more than 100,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for an organ transplant.

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SEE ALSO: Parents of 10-year-old boy killed by car donate his organs so others can live
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The parents of a 10-year-old boy, who was fatally injured when he was hit by a car while riding his bike, donated five of his organs.

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