A 22-year-old Florida student was shot to death in Alabama last week when he stopped to help what he thought was a stranded motorist on the side of the road.
According to the New York Times, Adam Simjee and his girlfriend, Mikayla Paulus, were driving in Talladega National Forest on the morning of Aug. 14 when they stopped to help a woman who flagged them down and claimed her car wouldn’t start.
Once the couple were out of the car, the woman, identified as Yasmine Hider, allegedly pulled out a gun and forced the couple to walk back into the woods.
A statement from the Clay Country Sheriff’s Office, obtained by local television station WBRC, said Simjee then pulled out his own gun and “an exchange of gunfire” led to Hider being shot several times in the torso and Simjee was shot once in the back.
Paulus, 20, was not injured in the altercation and tried to revive her boyfriend by administering CPR but he died at the scene, the authorities said.
“Adam pulled out his gun and told her to get on the ground and that’s when she started messing around with her gun. It jammed once but they both shot at each other and she was shot a few times and he was shot only once,” Paulus told ABC News.
Authorities said Hider appeared to be living with others in the woods and last week she and another woman, Krystal Diane Pinkins, were charged with murder, kidnapping and robbery.
According to the Florida Sun Sentinel, Pinkins, 36, had been standing in the woods while Hider allegedly held the couple at gunpoint. After the shots were fired, Hider called out to Pinkins for help, but Pinkins fled the scene.
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Shortly after, a tracking team from the Alabama Department of Corrections found what was described as a “base camp” nearby, where Pinkins was hiding out near a group of tents.
As officers ordered her to the ground, “a 5-year-old child ran from the woods holding a loaded shotgun,” the statement said. The officers told the child, later identified as Pinkins’ son, to put down the firearm but he kept going toward his mother before eventually putting it on the ground, officials said.
The women may have been living “off the grid” in the National Forest, the sheriff’s statement said, and forestry workers dismantled their camp.
Pinkins faces an additional charge of suspicion of endangering the welfare of a child, reports the Sun Sentinel.
Paulus’ mother, Heather Lambert, told WBRC that the couple were taking one last summer road trip before they headed back to university in the fall.
“They love travelling together,” Lambert said. “They were going to go to the waterfall, so they were driving and this girl flagged them down and said she needed help with her car, so they stopped.”
Lambert said Simjee brought protection — the gun he used — to help keep them safe while travelling.
“I don’t know how Mikayla didn’t get shot in all of that, but she had taken off her shirt to stop the bleeding, and she called 911 and was giving him chest compressions,” Lambert said.
“She thinks he was alive for at least 20 minutes, but it took them at least 30 minutes to get there. I don’t know what would have happened if he didn’t have the gun on him.”
Hider is recovering in hospital from surgery she underwent for her injuries, police say, and will eventually be transferred to jail. Pinkins’ son was placed in the custody of the Department of Human Resources.