LAKELAND, Fla. -- Family and friends spent Monday remembering Racheal Ramsey, a mother of two, killed on Christmas Eve.
The community gathered Monday night at Lake Mirror in Lakeland.
There was a big turnout to honor Ramsey and her friend also killed, Christopher Pine.
Racheal Ramsey’s family says she and Pine were just friends and had met at work. The pair were single parents, both with two children.
Pine and Ramsey had planned on going to a Christmas Eve church service that night with the four children before the shooting occurred.
According to the Lakeland Police Department, Leighton Josephs, 30, shot and killed Ramsey and Pine while their children were in the home. Josephs then took his own life.
Witnesses tell ABC Action News police rescued the children from windows.
Since the shooting on December 24, the community has poured out support for the Ramsey family and her two girls, 5 and 7-years-old. The two young girls are now staying with their grandmother, Karen Ramsey.
The family says they are struggling with grief and getting used to their new normal.
ABC Action News spoke with friends of Ramsey who say she was the kindest person you could meet.
“She just lit up a room, had a bubbly happy spirit,” Jessica Criss, a long-time church friends said people would gravitate towards Ramsey.
Ramsey, a 30-year-old mother of two was about to graduate with her Master’s Degree.
She was currently working with children.
Ramsey’s mother, Karen, tells ABC Action News the shooter is the father of Ramsey’s daughters and while the two were separated, they were still living in the same home. Karen says she didn’t know details but knows Pine was just a friend of her daughters.
The family sent the following statement:
“Racheal Miriam Ramsey was born on Valentine's Day, 1989. She was born and raised in Lakeland, attended Lakeland Sr. High, where she was known by her friends as Duckie, until the middle of her junior year. At that time she was invited to attend the Collegiate High School program at what was then Polk Community College. She graduated from the program with her high school diploma then continued her college courses at Keiser University, Lakeland Campus. There she received her B.S. in Criminal Justice and had been taking courses whenever time allowed to earn her Masters in Criminal Psychology. During this time her daughters were born and became her center of attention. She was a devoted mother who loved her children with all her heart. Racheal rarely went anywhere without her girls. She was an assistant director for a local daycare where her girls attended until they started school. She loved her job and the students and the students loved her, as well as their parents. She was also an assistant nursery attendant at the church she attended since she was three years old. Racheal was loved by her friends and family. She will be deeply missed but never forgotten by those who knew and loved her.”
We are just trying to keep things kind of normal for the girls. You can let the community know how much we deeply appreciate everything they have done for the girls. We also are trying our best to keep the girls out of the media as much as possible. They are asking why everyone is being so nice to them and we are trying to help them understand. It is going to be a rough emotional road for all four of the kids and our prayers are with the families of Chris Pine and Leighton Josephs.”
- Karen and Terry Ramsey
Christopher Pine also leaves behind two children, a boy and a girl.