CITRONELLE, Ala. (WKRG) — It was an emotional Monday evening for family and friends of 18-year-old Brooklyn Sims who was shot and killed while working at Home Depot in Pensacola on Friday, Aug. 11. As family members came together to remember her legacy, they hope her story can shed light on an ongoing issue of domestic violence.
Those closest to Brooklyn Sims gathered in her old hometown of Citronelle to release balloons in her favorite color, purple.
Family and friends describe her as the life of the party with nothing but love in her heart for everyone; especially for her 2-year-old daughter Casey.
“The way she could make you laugh,” said Breland Carter, Sims’ brother. “She could walk in a room and not say anything and just light up the whole room. I miss that about her. It’s a reason people used to call her my twin, it’s not because we look alike, we act alike too.”
“Brooklyn was a soft-spoken young lady,” Roxana Roberson, Sims’ cousin. “She had a smile that would light up a room. She’s a daughter. She’s a sister. She’s daughter, and most importantly, she’s a mother.”
“Because the last time I talked to my sister, she just wanted to be a good mother, raise her daughter,” continued Carter.
Investigators with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office arrested Keith Agee, 20, charging him with murder and two counts of aggravated battery for reportedly injuring two others when he allegedly opened fire in the Home Depot on Brent Lane Friday afternoon.
Sims’ long-life friend and coworker, XiaXiang Parnell was one of the people injured inside the store during the gunfire. She was shot in the hand while trying to run out the store.
“Bullets were ricocheting,” Parnell explained. “They were bouncing off things and just trying to run. I actually had to hide behind some boxes on the aisle. I got behind it and put some boxes in front of me and I stayed there, so more people came by and they seen me and they was like, ‘come on, we have to exit here.'”
According to ECSO, Keith’s mother, Sheila texted him before the shooting encouraging to open fire on Sims. ECSO eventually charged her with first-degree murder.
Friends say Keith Agee was the father of Sims’ daughter, and as the family tries to keep Sims’ memory alive and teach her two-year-old daughter about who her mother was, they hope they can shine a light on a bigger issue that harms communities; domestic violence.
“This is not an adult issue. This is an us issue,” said Roberson. “And it’s happening more often with our younger teens. And, I mean, if you are going through something like this to reach out, there are resources out in the community. You can call 211 talk to someone, tell someone, let someone know every threat should be taken seriously.”
Sims’ family has set up a GoFundMe for funeral expenses, if you would like to donate, click the link here.