Florida man killed while defending girlfriend from armed robbery in state park

Most of the defensive gun uses that we feature here at Bearing Arms have a happy ending, but unfortunately that’s not the case when it comes to the livesaving actions of Adam Simjee. The 22-year old college student was shot and killed Sunday morning in Alabama’s Cheaha State Park when he and his girlfriend became the victims of an armed robbery, but still managed to protect his girlfriend from harm. Now Mikayla Paulus is speaking out about the attack as well as her boyfriend’s heroism.

Paulus says the pair originally just wanted to spend a day outdoors before heading back to Florida and their college classes, but when they ran across a couple of women who claimed to have car trouble, they decided they needed to help.

I called my dad (to ask for car repair advice), watched some YouTube videos and tried to fix car,’’ Paulus said. “When we realized it couldn’t be fixed, I asked if she needed anything else.”

“She (Hider) pulled a gun, said put your hands up, walk into the woods and drop your phone and keys,” Paulus recounted.

Simjee, she said, was a “proud supporter of the Second Amendment” and had tucked his gun in his waistband when they stopped to help the women.

“He had his gun in his waistband the whole time because he said it was suspicious and this is how people get robbed,’’ Paulus said.

“My whole body went numb, but I knew I would at least be OK,’’ she said. “I was terrified, but I knew at any point Adam was going to pull his gun out.”

“He always made sure that I knew that I was protected and taken care of,” she said.

Paulus says Simjee was able to draw his gun when one of the two women, who police have identified as Yasmine Hider and Krystal Pinkins, momentarily lowered her own firearm and turned her attention elsewhere. The two exchanged shots, with Simjee hitting Hilder three times and fracturing her femur, but one of Hilder’s rounds struck Simjee as well. As Hilder and Pinkins scrambled off into the forest, Paulus called 911. Sadly, Adam Simjee died from the injuries he received, leaving behind heartbroken family and friends.

Paulus returned to Florida Monday to be with her family.

She said her relationship with Simjee was like a fairytale and she had been expecting an engagement ring from him any day.

“He kept it a secret,’’ she said, “but we were definitely going to get married and have kids and be together.”

This is what she posted on Facebook:

“Yesterday my world ended. I had to watch as my reason for being, my soulmate, my life partner, the future father of my child, died in the middle of a state park in Alabama. No words can begin to describe the shock and pain I’m in. We had our entire lives ahead of us.

“Adam is the best person I’ve ever met on the face of this entire planet. He was the most pure soul and he died protecting me.

“It comforts me to say he passed in one of his favorite places, the forest in the mountains.”

A forest in the mountains isn’t the first place you’d suspect an armed robbery to take place, but you never know when or where someone might decide you look like an easy mark or an unarmed victim. If Adam Simjee didn’t have the presence of mind to carry his gun with him while he and Paulus were hiking, police might very well be investigating a double homicide with no leads or eyewitnesses to go on.

Carrying a gun for self-defense doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to use it if need be, nor does it offer 100% protection against armed and violent criminals. Hopefully, however, it gives you a fighting chance to protect yourself and the people you love if need be, and that’s exactly what happened on Sunday morning.

Adam Simjee should be remembered and honored for his bravery and heroism, and a GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for Simjee’s funeral expenses. I hope that gun owners and Second Amendment supporters from around the country will show his family their support in their time of grief, and I pray that all those who love him can find some comfort and peace in the days ahead.

***UPDATE***

Some additional information from WBRC in Birmingham, Alabama; including the fact that the sheriff says that the murder actually took place within the Talladega National Forest and not Cheaha State Park, which makes this a federal offense. A judge has issued a gag order for attorneys involved in the case; agreeing with the State that there is a  “substantial probability of material prejudice to the Defendant’s ability to receive a fair trial, should the parties be free to discuss without limits the case in a setting where media coverage is likely and there are not any reasonable alternatives.” That may be a wise legal move, but in the court of public opinion it’s going to be nearly impossible not to draw some strong conclusions based on what police and the surviving victim have described.