ANNISTON, AL (WBRC) - Friends and neighbors say two people who died outside Anniston Wednesday--one a murder victim, one at the hands of police--were kind-hearted people who would talk to and help anyone in need.
They also say the two were cousins.
Police Chief Shane Denham says officers shot and killed 27-year-old Jamee Almarez, moments after he shot an investigator working a crime scene.
That crime scene was the death of Almarez' cousin, 36-year-old Candice Weeks. At least one friend says Weeks also went by the name Candy Roper, and on Facebook, her profile is listed as Candice Roper.
Jennifer Hunter says Candice Roper was the mother of two daughters, and that one of those daughters found her mother dead in front of her home on High Street, located in the Blue Mountain community. It is outside the Anniston city limits but inside the Anniston police jurisdiction, which is why their officers responded to the scene.
Police say Roper died from a gunshot wound. Hunter says she was shot in the back of the head.
"I wish her daughters weren't feeling what they're feeling, and that I could take their pain away and stuff, but I can't," Hunter told reporters outside Roper's residence.
A statement from police say around 4:15, Almarez breached the crime scene tape as they were investigating Roper's death on High Street. The statement says Almarez pulled out a gun and shot a still-unnamed investigator in the abdomen.
"He had a grazing wound. He was very fortunate, the good Lord was looking out for him," Denham told reporters Wednesday night. Since then, police have said the investigator was treated and released from a nearby hospital.
Denham said five officers then opened fire, killing Almarez on the scene.
Thursday, neighbors were trying to make sense of it, saying both Roper and Almarez were kind-hearted. In fact, Almarez stayed with Roper at the time of their deaths, according to Jennifer Hunter.
"She did what she had to do to help anybody. That's the reason Jamee was here, to help him," Hunter recalled. "She had a kind heart just like he had a kind heart."
A neighbor on the next street, Chandol Worley, says Almarez walked his bulldogs frequently throughout the neighborhood, occasionally sitting on porches and chatting with them.
"when he would get tired, he would come to sit down and say, 'Well, how are you doing today?'" recalled Worley. "We would sit and we would talk, and I would give him something to drink and give his dogs some water. And he would talk awhile and he would get up and go on about his business."
Worley said Almarez didn't own a car and would occasionally ask people to give him rides. She says one neighbor took him one day to give food to someone who didn't have food.
"He just seemed to be that kind of person. He was mild-mannered, he never seemed to harm anybody, just a real sweet boy," Worley said. She added it seemed out of character to her for him to even own or carry a gun, let alone use it against a police officer.
A statement from police says the injured officer is at home Thursday, and that all of the officers involved are getting counseling and anything else they need.
ALEA and the JSU Center for Applied Forensics are investigating the officer-involved shooting, and Anniston Police are still investigating the murder of Candice Roper.
Police say they will release no further information and will not answer any more questions because "the case is under investigation," so it is not known if they have any leads or suspects in the murder. One neighbor even noted the police have not asked residents to call with information that can help in the case, as law enforcement agencies often do when a suspect has not been arrested.