Hayleen Reyes moved to Baltimore from the Dominican Republican five months ago in search of a better life.
But on Thursday morning, the 21-year-old — who had just started a new job at the Rite Aid distribution center in Harford County two days earlier — was among three workers who were shot and killed.
Police said Snochia Moseley, a 26-year-old temporary worker at the facility, killed Reyes, Sunday Aguda, 45, and Brindra Giri, 41, and injured three others before killing herself.
“It’s just been very hard. Our heart is broken,” Reyes’ great-grandmother, Zenaida Fernandez, said through a translator. “She was a very happy person.”
Family members described Reyes as a bright, outgoing person who loved to make others laugh. Her passion was singing, and she would sing daily to Fernandez, who helped raise her.
Reyes dreamed of becoming a professional singer, they said.
Fernandez was among a dozen family members — including some who had traveled from New York and Boston — who gathered at Reyes’ East Baltimore rowhome on Friday. She lived on Gusryan Street home with her father and 1-year-old daughter, Brithany.
Family members wiped away tears as they spoke to reporters in the front yard and made plans to go to the funeral home on Saturday. Brithany laughed and smiled as she watched a video that family in the Dominican Republic had just made to remember Reyes. The little girl giggled as she watched pictures of her mother, while aunts and uncles wept quietly.
“One of the biggest concerns that we had was, what was her last moments like? What was going through her head? What was going through her mind about our family, her daughter?” said Reyes’ uncle, Andy De Las Nueces, 29.
On the day of the shooting, he said he had heard the news but did not realize his niece was among the victims until that evening. FBI agents and detectives came to the house that afternoon where they broke the news to Fernandez. He said family in the Dominican Republic quickly began sharing news stories of the shooting.
De Las Nueces said Reyes’ mother and other relatives still live there.
Reyes’ father declined to comment.
When she moved to Baltimore, Reyes first had a job working at a hotel, De Las Nueces said. Reyes had recently started at the distribution center, where she did not know anyone, he said.
De Las Nueces said many family members remain in shock and disbelief that she died so young, and after relocating for a better future for her daughter.
Her daughter, he said, was the center of her life.
The family has not yet decided who will raise Brithany, De Las Nueces said. The family has also struggled to explain her mother’s absence to her.
On most nights, Brithany cuddled up against her mother to sleep, he said. Since the shooting, he said she awoke in the middle of the night crying out for her mother.