(NewsNation) — Adam Simjee and Mikayla Paulus were supposed to start classes Monday at the University of Central Florida — her in the graduate program for mental health counseling, him in the finance program.
Instead, their families are mourning Simjee and the life the pair planned to have together.
Paulus’ Facebook tells the story: a happy young couple, loving the outdoors, planning to get married. It ended Aug. 14 at Talladega National Forest in Alabama, when Simjee, 22, was shot and killed by a woman who police say faked needing help with her broken-down car.
“No words can begin to describe the shock and pain I’m in. It comforts me to say he passed in one of his favorite places, the forest in the mountains,” Paulus wrote on Facebook about the death of her boyfriend.
Police say the couple were driving near the popular Cheaha State Park when a woman flagged them down claiming car trouble. When she pulled a gun and tried to rob them, Simjee pulled out his own firearm and they exchanged gunfire.
The woman, Yasmine Hider, was wounded, and Simjee died at the scene. Authorities later found a second woman, Krystal Pinkins, in the woods, where she and Hider were apparently living in tents.
Simjee was remembered for his warm smile and selfless nature.
“Thank you all so much for the support and love, it’s the main thing keeping me going right now,” Paulus wrote on Facebook. “I’m so happy Adam is getting recognized as the hero he was. He was so selfless & would do anything for someone he loved. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know if I’d be here right now.”
Authorities say when they arrived at that encampment deep in the woods, they encountered Pinkins’ 5-year-old son armed with a loaded shotgun. He has been put under the care of child welfare workers.
Hider remains hospitalized. She and Pinkins are both charged with one count of murder, two counts of kidnapping and two counts of robbery.