NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police were trying to solve a murder mystery in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, after a mother of three was found shot to death in the parking lot of Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn.
As CBS 2’s Amy Dardashtian reported, Shalema Gaskin’s body was found during the overnight hours outside the hospital in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. Police said she was killed after visiting her sick child.
“She was just shot in the neck – for what reasons?” said Gaskin’s aunt, Lila Evans.
CBS 2’s Amy Dardashtian spoke exclusively with Shalema Gaskin’s 18-year-old daughter, Tamara Gaskin.
“I want answers. I want to know why, why someone would do this,” she said. “My mother was murdered for nothing.”
Tamara Gaskin, the victim’s oldest daughter, said her mother told her she was going to see her sick sister.
“She told me she was going to see Niyah now, and she’ll be back bringing breakfast, and that’s the last I heard,” Tamara said.
Family said Shalema Gaskin fought for her life in front of the hospital and went undiscovered for almost an hour.
Latisha Guinn discovered Gaskin on her way home from work and quickly called for help.
“It’s sad to know something like that could happen. You’re right by the hospital. I was in shock. At first I thought that maybe she was drunk lady that had passed out. That was my first thing I was thinking when I see the pool of blood. That’s when I hopped on the phone,” Guinn said.
There were no answers for Gaskin’s family. The mother of three had been visiting her 8-year-old daughter, who had been admitted for an asthma attack.
“Why is all this happening, when they’re right in front of the hospital?” said her mother, Tanya Gaskin. “They should have seen it.”
Police said Shalema Gaskin’s belongings, including an iPhone, were left on her. There was no clear motive to explain the cold-blooded murder, just days before her 33rd birthday.
“No, none, enemies,” said Mona Lewis, the victim’s aunt, “and she didn’t have a dispute with anybody recently that we know of – nothing.”
Sources said Shalema Gaskin exited the hospital just before 2 a.m. Her daughter’s father stayed in the room where they were visiting their child.
Mysteriously, Gaskin ended up behind the building where the exit locks at around 8:30 p.m. Her family said she never took that route.
Now, the family wants to know who she called last and how she got back there.
If the shooting was premeditated, the motive is a gut-wrenching mystery to Gaskin’s anguished family.
“She shouldn’t have never died,” Evans said. “She’s an angel. She don’t bother nobody. She’ll give you food in her refrigerator if you’re hungry.”
Gaskin’s daughter agreed wholeheartedly with the sentiment.
“She was caring and generous, and she always lent a helping hand to whoever you were,” Tamara said.
Tamara Gaskin said her mother encouraged education and faith. The loss was incomprehensible for the teen.
“We were like best friends. We talked every day,” she said. “I’m still baffled as to why she left me.”
Most of all, Shalema Gaskin’s family wants the killer who left three children without a mother caught.
“I need some justice in this situation,” Tanya Gaskin said. “I want an answer why my daughter died.”
Three teddy bears were left near the spot where Gaskin’s body was found – one for each of her daughters.
There are no surveillance cameras behind the building for police to piece together evidence in the case. Police were exploring all possibilities Tuesday night, including the possibility that Shalema Gaskin was struck by a stray bullet.
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