HEBRON, Ky. -- Friends and family of a 19-year-old woman who was shot to death by a Boone County sheriff’s deputy gathered Sunday night at the spot where she died to both honor her memory and demand answers from investigators.
Samantha Ramsey died Saturday at Saint Elizabeth Medical Center in Florence after being shot four times by a Boone County Sheriff’s deputy in the 6000 block of River Road near Hebron, Ky.
Boone County Sheriff’s spokesperson Tom Scheben said deputy Tyler Brockman, 28, shot Ramsey four times after she accelerated her vehicle and struck him during a traffic stop outside a nearby field party. Ramsey's body was released to her family on Monday after the Boone County coroner performed an autopsy.
"She was the best (person) I've ever met in my entire life,” said Xavier Noe, one of Ramsey's friends. “She gave me faith that there are still genuine people on this earth and people you can trust."
On Saturday, Scheben said the confrontation between Brockman and Ramsey happened within seconds and the deputy made a decision he believed would save his life.
“Imagine that you are the deputy and you are trying to stop that car,” Scheben said of the incident. “Within seconds it is all over with. In those few seconds, this is how I have to save my life.”
Boone County Sheriff Michael Helmig ordered a full investigation of the incident. Brockman, a Boone County deputy since 2010, was placed on administrative leave, something that is typical in incidents of officer-involved shootings.
The sheriff's office indicated cruiser camera video and other information could be released to the public once that internal investigation is complete. Scheben said there is no clear timeline as to when the investigation will be complete.
On Sunday, Aven Clark said she’s having a difficult time coming to terms with the fact her friend is gone.
"She was too young. It was too early for her to go," said Clark.
Noe, Clark and dozens of other people who lined the road where the Holmes High School grad died shed tears together as they remembered their friend, sibling, cousin, classmate and daughter.
“These people loved her from the bottom of their hearts,” said Ramsey’s mother, Brandi Stewart.
Stewart said she was thankful for the approximately 100 people who attended the roadside vigil to comfort her and pay respects to her daughter.
She demands to have questions about the incident answered.
"He (the deputy) has a job to do and I respect that," she said the day following the shooting. "It's a very difficult job. But...he knows what happened and I want to know what happened. That's all I want to know and as a mother I deserve to know. I'm not seeking vengeance or justice, I just want to know what happened to my daughter."
On Saturday, Scheben said specifically that Brockman was hit by Ramsey's car after he exited his cruiser to administer field sobriety tests. The impact flipped Brockman onto the car's hood and injured his leg, he said.
Records show Ramsey was arrested as an 18-year-old in Lakeside Park in April of last year on a DUI charge. She was taken to the Kenton County Detention Center in that incident, where she was processed and jailed.
Lynnsy Hall, a family friend said she believes the deputy could have ended up killing any one of the four people inside the car Saturday night, if not all of them.
"He could have killed the other three people in the car,” she said, adding that he could have decided to “shoot the tires" as an alternative.
Others believe the deputy may have jumped on the car.
"(Ramsey) lost her life for him jumping on the hood of a young girl's car that was scared," said Gunnar Buemi, a friend of Ramsey's family.
One of three passengers in Ramsey's vehicle described the exchange from his perspective.
"We saw three cars, so we thought we could go past," said Bobby Turner, who was the backseat passenger behind Ramsey when she was shot. "The officer was talking to somebody else. We was listening to music in the car. We didn't know the police was talking to us. I didn't hear him. I just saw him jump on the hood and start shooting. I didn't see him withdraw his gun, that's how quick it was."
From his perspective across the street, Josh Pitts of Covington said it appeared the deputy leapt onto the vehicle.
"As she was trying to make a turn and leave the party, he jumped on the car and pulled his gun out and shot four times through the window and hit the girl," he said, adding that he believes Ramsey might have panicked during the confrontation.
After shots were fired, Ramsey's vehicle was put in reverse and ended up in a ditch, Scheben said.
"I'm a reasonable parent,” Stewart said, “my daughter was not a saint by any means, but she was a very good person and she never would have disrespected an officer.
"All I know is my daughter would never attempt to hurt a police officer... ever."