MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — New details reveal a Minneapolis woman was shot to death while trying to retrieve clothes from the home she used to share with her boyfriend.

Police say Raven Gant, 27, was killed by her ex-boyfriend on Thanksgiving Day on James Avenue North, all while her 2-year-old daughter J.J. was close by. When police arrived, J.J. pointed them to her mother’s body.

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Jiccarra Hollman was Raven’s close friend. She says Raven had a knack for style, and she earned it.

“I would describe Raven as fun, loving, the life of the room, probably the most fashionable in the room,” Jiccarra said.

Raven’s mother, Lakecia Gant, described her daughter as “super hard worker.” She was an accounts manager at the Union Depot Hotel.

“I want [J.J.] to know that she had an awesome mom who loved her very much, who loved her very, very much,” Lakecia said.

Raven’s brother, Rhonald Gant III, says he was unaware his sister was in an abusive relationship.

“I had no idea of all of this that was going on because of the lengths that my sister was going through to protect this man,” Rhonald said.

Raven Gant and her daughter (credit: CBS)

That man is J.J.’s father, Randall Watkins.

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Randall Watkins (credit: Hennepin County)

“My daughter knew that she was being abused, and she tried to get out of it,” Lakecia said. “But by the time she tried to get out of it, it was a little bit too late.”

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Raven and J.J. had moved out of Watkins home. Police reports say Raven went back Thanksgiving to retrieve clothes when Watkins shot her in front of their daughter.

“She was my backbone, my rock, and I miss her every second, every minute of the day,” Lakecia said.

Now, she says she hopes her family’s story of devastation will give others the strength to walk away.

“That’s not OK for any women, for any young adult, for no female to experience,” Lakecia said. “It’s just not right.”

There’s a fund to support the family, and there will be a peace vigil in Raven’s honor Friday evening on Broadway Avenue.

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Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield