Tracey Smith, 46, was giving her 17-year-old son a driving lesson on Friday evening when the pair got into what investigators described as "a minor accident," according to the Milwaukee Police Department.
Things took a tragic turn when Smith, a sergeant with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, got out to confront the driver who ran into them. The two exchanged words and Smith was shot during the encounter, according to police.
"This stemmed from a minor accident that occurred. The passenger of the vehicle that was hit got out and confronted the [driver] of the striking vehicle," police said in a statement Monday. "Words were exchanged and the driver of the striking vehicle pulled out a firearm and shot the passenger."
The suspect fled the scene and Smith's son rushed her to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Police arrested a 35-year-old man in connection to the shooting, but investigators declined to release his identity as he is awaiting formal charges.
The woman's family described her as a "beautiful person" who had a knack for communicating with people. They're worried that her son, who witnessed the entire encounter, may never recover from the tragedy.
"I don't know what to say, but I know one thing, the way my daughter lost her life, it wasn't right. It ain't right," said Ollie Luckett, the victim’s father, told Milwaukee ABC affiliate WISN. "You know how it is on these streets. You probably ride it. You know how these people are acting. It's ridiculous. My daughter shouldn't have lost her life like that."
"She was a beautiful person. She knew how to treat people. She knew how to talk to people. She was wonderful. That was my oldest daughter. And I wish you knew how I feel," he added.
Kevin Carr, secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, said Smith had been with the department for 23 years. He called her death a "senseless act of violence" and promised to "stand in solidarity" with her family in their time of mourning.
"Sgt. Smith courageously served Wisconsin communities for 23 years as a member of the DOC, and her contributions to the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF) will be felt long after her passing," Carr said in a statement to ABC News Tuesday. "Today, I want to express my sincere condolences and stand in solidarity with Sgt. Smith's family, friends and co-workers."