Fairport family remembers their ‘ballerina girl’

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A Fairport family is remembering ballerina Colleen Buckley after she was shot and killed by her husband in Arizona on May 20.

They’ve asked us to call her by her maiden name. The Buckley family shared personal stories with News10NBCs Stephanie Duprey.

The family is still grappling with the death of Colleen, their "ballerina girl," as her mom Deb calls her. The family says this is a nightmare they can’t wake up from.

"Heartbreaking doesn’t even sum it up," Michaela Buckley said, holding back tears. She’s Colleen’s younger sister.

Seeing ballet slippers hanging up, instead of on Colleen’s feet just doesn’t seem real for the Buckley family.

"It creates an incredible hole in your chest."

Police say the 25-year-old professional dancer was shot and killed by her husband. Investigators say Christopher Hoopes told dispatchers in Arizona that he woke up, was startled by her, and shot her.

"It’s shocking and it’s completely unreal, it seems impossible but this is reality," Michaela said, in tears.

Those close to the Fairport graduate say she was most alive when she was on stage, and that she was quiet, but her silence with a smile could change someone’s entire day.

"All she ever wanted to do was dance. Rochester City Ballet hired her as an apprentice and she danced in her home studio. First-try auditioning, she was hired with Ballet Arizona which is a huge deal," her sister Michaela said, proudly.

Michaela says though memories can fade over time, her sister isn’t just a memory, she’s part of her.

"When we were little, we would always put on shows together it would go on for what our parents would say would be too long."

Colleen danced with her heart, and pink pointe slippers followed. Her legacy will live on stage forever.

"She truly was a light to everyone she came in contact with."

Colleen’s family created a scholarship in her honor at the Draper Center For Dance where she studied to help kids with the same passion she had.

People who wish to donate can send a check made out to "Draper Center for Dance Education," with "Colleen Buckley Scholarship" in the memo line.

The Draper Center for Dance Education is located at 1326 University Ave, Rochester, NY 14607.