A roadside robber masquerading as a stranded motorist killed a University of Central Florida student when he fought back, according to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office in Alabama.
The 22-year-old victim was identified as Adam Simjee of Apopka, Florida, and he was traveling with his girlfriend, Mikayla Paulus, 20, who witnessed the killing, the sheriff’s office said in a press release.
It happened around 11:30 am Sunday, Aug. 14, as the couple were driving through Talladega National Forrest, a mile from Cheaha State Park, officials said. The park is about 80 miles east of Birmingham, Alabama.
The two were flagged down by a woman, “later identified as Yasmine Hider,” the sheriff’s office reported.
“Hider asked the couple if they could give her some assistance to get her car started, which was nearby,” officials said. “When the couple attempted to assist Hider, she produced a gun and made the couple walk back into the woods.”
Once they were in the woods, Simjee revealed he was armed and the two exchanged gunfire as Paulus looked on, officials said.
Both Simjee and Hider were struck by gunfire, officials said.
Mikayla noticed a second woman, “later identified as Krystal Diane Pinkins, standing in the nearby woods observing what was going on,” the sheriff’s office said.
“The shooter (Hider) then called out to Pinkins to come help her. After a brief conversation between the Pinkins suspects fled the scene on foot,” officials said. “Mikayla was then able to retrieve her cell phone and call 911.”
Paulus performed CPR on Simjee as they waiting for rescuers, but he died at the scene, officials said.
Deputies arrived to find Hider on the ground nearby, with “several gunshots to her torso.”
Hider was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Birmingham, officials said.
Pinkins was arrested hours later, standing among a group of tents “1/2 mile from the scene of the robbery.”
As officers ordered Pinkins to the ground, “a 5-year-old child ran from the woods holding a loaded shotgun,” officials said.
“Law enforcement told the child to put the shotgun down. However the child continued to the female’s location before laying the gun on the ground,” the sheriff’s office reported.
The child was Pinkins’ son, officials said. She was “arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child,” and the boy was picked up by the Department of Human Resources, officials said.
“It did not appear that any other people were currently using the camp,” the sheriff’s office said.
Hider faces charges of one count of murder, two counts kidnapping and two counts of robbery, officials said. She is currently in a Birmingham hospital, the sheriff’s office said, and “the weapons used in the crime have been recovered.”
Pinkins has also been charged with one count of murder, two counts kidnapping and two counts of robbery, officials said.
Simjee’s Facebook page reports he graduated from Apopka High School, attended Seminole State College and transferred to the University of Central Florida in 2021. He intended to graduate in 2023.
Paulus also lives in Apopka and “studies Masters of Art (MA) Clinical Mental Health Counseling at University of Central Florida,” according to her Facebook page.
She says she and Simjee had been dating four years, and he died protecting her.
“Yesterday my world ended,” she wrote on Facebook.
“I had to watch as my reason for being, my soulmate, my life partner, the future father of my children, died in the middle of a state park in Alabama. No words can begin to describe the shock and pain I’m in. We had our entire lives ahead of us.”
This story was originally published August 17, 2022 12:34 PM.