LAKELAND, Fla. – Friends are coming together to help the family of a woman shot and killed in her home on Christmas Eve. 

  • Vigil planned for Rachel Ramsey
  • Ramsey was shot and killed on Christmas Eve
  • She was mother of two little girls

Rachel Ramsey’s longtime family friend, Meghan Burrell, described Ramsey as a dedicated mother of two girls, ages 5 and 7, and an active member of Crystal Lake United Methodist Church. 

"Always brought the girls to church," Burrell said. "Racheal was very dedicated. Racheal would come every Sunday to church. Every Wednesday night to church. Every extra function there was at church."

Ramsey grew up in Lakeland and graduated from the collegiate high school program at Polk State College. She had a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Keiser University, and had taken courses to earn her master’s degree in Criminal Psychology.

"She was one that when she finished a degree, she would always find another to attend. Racheal was very smart," Burrell said. 

Ramsey also worked as an assistant director for a local day care. 

“She should be remembered as a very giving, loving person. She was always smiling. She loved her children very much,” Burrell said. 

On Christmas Eve, Lakeland Police say Ramsey was at home preparing to attend services at church, when her children’s father, Leighton Josephs arrived and shot and killed her and her visiting friend, Chris Pine, before shooting himself. 

Chris Pine was killed while visiting his friend Rachel Ramsey on Christmas Eve.

“Shock. Complete shock. Never saw this coming,” Burrell said. 

Ramsey's two children as well as Pine's two young children were inside the home at the time of the shooting.

They're now all safe with family. 

Pine was a welder, a former volunteer firefighter in Connecticut where he grew up, and a single father, according to his aunt Loumania Stewart.

He had sole custody of his daughter and son who are four and six years old. 

His family has planned a private funeral for Monday. 

GoFundMe pages have been set up for both Ramsey and Pine.

Burrell set up the online fundraiser for Ramsey to help with funeral costs and her daughters’ futures.

“We can’t bring her back but the goal would be to minimize the burden of the loss,” Burrell said. 

Stewart set up the online fundraiser to help Pine’s sister who lives out-of-state to attend the funeral and to also help care for his children. 

Friends of Ramsey have also organized a candlelight vigil for her scheduled for December 30 at 6 pm at Lake Mirror in Downtown Lakeland at the Frances Langford Promenade.