Oceanea Jones was holding her boyfriend's hand as the pair ran for their lives from a gas station on Chicago's South Side Tuesday night.
But when she let go of his hand as gunshots rang out, her boyfriend knew that was it.
"We we’re holding hands, running. He shot one time and then hit us," said Darnell, who asked to only be identified by his first name for safety concerns. "Then she let go of my hand, she tried to hide, then he shot again."
The 21-year-old woman was shot and killed early Tuesday while fleeing a gas station in the 1500 block of West 79th Street in the city's Gresham neighborhood.
Jones was with her boyfriend at the gas station when four males approached and began asking him about his gang affiliation, officials said.
"They said, 'Where are you from?' I said, 'I’m not from around here,'" Darnell said, insisting he was not associated with a gang. "That’s when he shot the first time."
The couple ran away but the group chased them on foot, according to police. The scene was caught on surveillance video, which showed the young couple being chased into an alley.
That's when police said one of the offenders opened fire, shooting the woman in the back.
She was pronounced dead on the scene, authorities said. The Cook County Medical Examiner's office did not immediately confirm the fatality.
"Words can’t explain how I feel right now," Darnell said. "No words. I’m broken to pieces. Don’t nobody know this girl like I do."
The woman's mother said her daughter was a straight-A student who graduated from Johnson College Prep.
"My daughter was a nice girl," Kenya Jones said. "She didn’t do nothing to nobody."
The young couple had just moved to the neighborhood a year ago. Jones had just celebrated her 21st birthday weeks before her death.
A lifelong resident of the neighborhood mourned the loss and shared his frustration with the violence, calling the area a "war zone."
"This area brings murder," said Demetrius Mingo. "This happens over here. They come younger than 21. Fourteen years old, 13 years old... This is what happens over here on the regular."
No one was in custody in connection with the shooting as authorities continue to investigate.