LAKE MARY, Fla. - A University of Central Florida student was killed while protecting his girlfriend during an attack in Alabama last weekend, authorities said. A woman accused of killing that student was "living off the grid" in a wooded area near the Talladega National Forest, according to deputies.
Heather Lambert tells FOX 35 News that her daughter, Mikaya Paulus, was traumatized as she watched her boyfriend of more than four years, Adam Simjee, die in her arms. She is still shaken by a call she received from her daughter.
"She’s like, 'Adam’s been shot! He might be dead!' I was like, 'Tell me you’re joking.' She said, 'I’m not!'
Deputies said a woman, later identified as Yasmine Hider, waved them down saying she had car trouble. The two tried to help her but deputies said Hider attempted to rob them at gunpoint and began asking them for money and their bank account numbers.
She then pushed the couple into the woods, where Simjee pulled out a gun he had concealed in his waistband.
"At some point, she (Hider) put her guard down and put the gun down (and) that’s when Adam pulled his gun out and told her to get on the ground," Lambert said.
Authorities said Hider shot him, and then he returned fire.
"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 then she called 911 and was giving him chest compressions," Lambert said.
Simjee died in the woods. Lambert said Simjee will be remembered as a hero who saved her daughter's life.
"I was just bragging at work how he’s the one. She found her 'soulmate,' and for this to happen, it’s just... but if he wasn’t there, I don’t know. Even my 7-year-old daughter said, 'Mommy if Mikayla had another boyfriend maybe she wouldn’t have lived.'"
A second woman said to be involved in the incident, Krystal Pinkins, initially escaped, but deputies tracked her to a camp where they say a 5-year-old walked out of the woods with a loaded shotgun.
The two women are now facing several charges including murder, kidnapping, and robbery. Hider remains hospitalized.