Attorney's daughter saves lives thanks to organ donations

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

Video Transcript

- ABC News exclusive. Local families turning their heartbreak into the gift of life.

- Yeah. This morning we are hearing from prominent Houston attorney Chris Tritico. His daughter was sadly shot and killed last December. But her death is now helping save the lives of others including one person very close to the Tritico family. ABC 13's Courtney Fischer, joining us live this morning with the story. And you may want to have some tissues handy for this one. Boy, this is just heartbreaking, Courtney.

COURTNEY FISCHER: Yeah. [? Scimeca. ?] You know, Attorney Chris Tritico says he prides himself on the fact that he always knows what to do in the courtroom. That's when he's in his element. He's been an attorney in the Houston area for more than 30 years. This is his law office in The Heights.

But he says when he got the call that his daughter had been shot in Florida he felt helpless. Maria Tritico is her name. She and her fiance were on the beach playing ultimate Frisbee back on December 6th when a stray bullet hit Maria in the head. Police say a gang member had shot at a rival group. Back here in Houston, Chris and Debbie Tritico got that call. And six hours later, they were in the Florida hospital saying goodbye to their 32-year-old daughter.

The parents were told Maria had signed up to be an organ donor. And doctors asked them, hey, do you know anyone who needs an organ. Turns out they did, Donna Hawkins. And she is a Harris County prosecutor. Donna and Chris Tritico were long time rivals in the courtroom, but had been friends for 30 years. And Donna had been struggling with a painful kidney disease. It could have killed her. But amazingly, she and Maria were a match.

DONNA HAWKINS: Happy that I was going to live and make it, and still incredibly devastated for them.

DEBBIE TRITICO: That's the only-- the only thing we had. In this nightmare, the only thing we could hold on to is that something good was happening, that she was a miracle for somebody else.

CHRIS TRITICO: 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.

COURTNEY FISCHER: Guys, Maria's kidney, her lungs, and her liver were all successfully donated. So just think about the people she saved, the families who now get to have their loved ones longer all because of Maria. I also want to mention, right now, more than 100,000 people in the US are in need of an organ transplant.

For now, reporting live from The Heights, Courtney Fischer, ABC 13, Eyewitness News.

- Thank you.