Friends and family of the two people gunned down in an Atlanta Avenue home on Christmas Eve have started GoFundMe accounts to help with funerals and the expenses of raising the two sets of young children who lost parents.
Rachel Ramsey and Chris Pine were planning to attend Christmas Eve services with Rachel’s two girls and Chris’ son and daughter when the two adults were shot to death around 5:30 p.m. by Leighton Josephs, who then turned the gun on himself.
Josephs, 30, had been the high school sweetheart of Ramsey, also 30, according to Lakeland Patch. But the couple’s relationship had become strained, the Lakeland Police Department said in a news release.
Ramsey and her parents, who will now raise her two daughters, have long been members of Crystal Lake United Methodist Church, Lakeland Patch reported. Josephs had also attended the church in the past, but hadn’t been in several years, Patch reported.
“We know all people closely who were involved,” family friend Meghan Burrell wrote in the fund-raising message for Ramsey. “We are raising money to help with unexpected funeral costs and to help with care for the children by the grandparents who will now have full custody.”
Ramsey was a graduate of Polk State College’s collegiate high school who earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Keiser University, done master’s coursework in criminal psychology and had worked as an assistant director at a day care center, Bay News 9 reported.
Pine was described as a devoted father and a hard worker in the fund-raising message written by an aunt. “To honor Chris’ memory we are setting up a fund to help his two kids have a Christmas that was taken away from them, tickets for his family to be together during the holiday season and a start of a trust fund family will continue to add to every year until the kids are 18.”
Pine, a single father who grew up in Connecticut, was a welder and a former volunteer firefighter, his aunt, Loumania Stewart, told Bay News 9. His children, who are now with relatives, are ages 4 and 6.
Friends of Rachel Ramsey are planning a candlelight vigil Monday at 6 p.m. at the Frances Langford Promenade around Lake Mirror, WFLA reported.