CLAY COUNTY, Ala. — A University of Central Florida student is dead and his girlfriend is grieving after their end-of-summer trip to Alabama turned tragic.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office in Alabama said 22-year-old Adam Simjee was shot and killed on Sunday after being tricked by two women into pulling over at the Talladega National Forest before the shooting happened.
Investigators in Alabama believed the two suspects were women who were part of a group of people who were living off the grid.
Next week was supposed to be the next chapter in the couple’s four-year love story. Simjee was in the process of finishing up his finance degree at UCF. His girlfriend, Mikayla Paulus, is enrolled in grad school.
Paulus’s father, Matt Paulus, said Simjee is a hero.
“I believe she’s still here because of him,” he said. “He’s definitely the man you’d hope your daughter would end up with.”
Paula said he got a call from his 20-year-old daughter and Simjee on Sunday, saying they were flagged down at a national forest in Alabama to help the two women with their car.
As a mechanic, Paulus said the situation made him proud.
“They’re both somewhat mechanically inclined, and Adam was very wise,” Paulus said. “He learned how to repair things and he helped me with stuff before.
Investigators said at one point, one of the women, later identified as Yasmine Hider, pulled out a gun and forced the couple into the forest.
Simjee also had a gun and exchanged fire with Hider. He was shot in the back and died instantly.
Hider was taken to a hospital with serious injuries.
Investigators said the second woman, Krystal Pinkins, ran from the scene but she was eventually located.
When deputies investigated, they said they found a group of tents that had been set up in the National Forest in what they described as a “base camp.” In the news release, deputies said that they saw a woman, later identified as Pinkins, standing near the tents and ordered her to the ground, but as they did so “a 5-year-old child ran from the woods holding a loaded shotgun.” Deputies told the child to put the gun down, which they eventually did after continuing to the woman’s location.
Hider and Pinkins are facing murder and kidnapping charges.
Paulus said knowing they’re in custody does give him some comfort, but if he could go back, he would tell the young couple to keep driving.
“I wish I could go back and turn the hands of time, but they were just two young kids, just trying to help other people and share love,” he said.
A GoFundMe has been set up for Simjee to help his family with funeral and burial costs. Click here to donate.
Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
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