‘She had a big heart’: Mother of woman killed in Portsmouth shooting looking for answers

Portsmouth

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A local family is working to find justice after their loved one was shot and killed less than a week ago.

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Police said the shooting happened around 5:34 Tuesday evening near the 2100 block of Pearl Street.

When they got there, first responders found Ariel McLaurin, just 27-years-old, dying from a life-threatening gunshot wound. She passed away before paramedics could get her to a hospital.

Police ID woman killed in shooting Tuesday in Portsmouth; 27-year-old turns himself in

Less than 48 hours later, police say they arrested 27-year-old Ryan Winfield and charged him with second-degree murder. Law enforcement says Winfield turn himself into the Portsmouth Sheriff’s Office.

10 On Your Side spoke with McLaurin’s mom, Tomeca Nichols, who came in from out of state to help her family heal – all while still trying to heal herself after the loss.

“She said ‘Somebody got shot in that block of Pearl Street in the 2100 and I think it’s Ariel’,” said Nichols about the moment she found out. “I dropped. I hit the ground so hard. I just dropped, and I lost it.”

Soon after, news broke about Winfield’s arrest.

“That was her boyfriend,” she told WAVY News. “You could see it all on Facebook at the beginning of the month. He changed his page to violence. He read up there, my daughter was saying, ‘I want to move on. I need, I want to explore my options.’ He posts a picture ‘Oh, she says she got options? ‘Pop-pop-pop.'”

Ariel was a mother of six – all under the age of 10.

“We’re going to have to have hard talks with these children when they get older and ask for their Mama. They need to know. And I can’t if I can’t do anything else, I gotta fight for my baby.”

Nichols’s fight for justice is just getting started, but, in the meantime, her family is working to come to terms that Ariel is no longer with them.

“I will not ever be able to see my daughter walk down the aisle. She’s not going to be able to see her children grow up, at all.”

Tomeca is hoping justice comes sooner rather than later.

“I just want him to sit there. He didn’t care about my daughter’s life, so he doesn’t value life and he doesn’t deserve to ever be free again,” said Nichols. “Don’t let my baby be another African American child that was in an area that was not considered important enough. I’m just being honest and being real.”

“He does not deserve to walk. I don’t care bout no hood code or anything. You need to communicate ’cause we need to start saving our lives. We got enough young people dying. They’re supposed to be burying me. My kids are supposed to bury me… I should not be burying my 27-year-old child.”

Those with information can submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-888-LOCK-U-UP, downloading the P3 tips app to a mobile device, or visiting www.P3tips.com and submitting a tip.

Stay with WAVY.com for more local news updates.

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