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MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) — A young woman with a promising future was gunned down at a birthday party in Miami Gardens Saturday.

The party was at a house located at 40 N.E. 212th Terrace. Police said just before 9 p.m. a disturbance erupted outside the home and someone opened fire, hitting and killing 23-year-old Alexandra Dean.

Dean had just graduated from Nova Southeastern University in May. She was on her way to becoming a nurse and helping others. But that dream was cut short in an instant.

“It’s just,” paused Pauline Dean, Alexandra’s mother. “Devastating,” she said sadly.

Mrs. Dean is heartbroken as only a mourning mother can be. Alex, as everyone called her, was Mrs. Dean’s youngest daughter. “I had that child when I was 44 years old. When I was an old lady. So it’s like a friend, a companion, a confidant, everything. And I was so proud of her. I was surprised when they told me she was at a birthday party and they had guns.”

Mrs. Dean was in Jamaica burying her own father when her children called to tell her she needed to fly back to South Florida immediately because Alex had been killed. She arrived first thing Sunday morning to family and friends streaming through the Miami Gardens home where Alex still lived with her mother and father, Raymond.

“God gave me Alex for 23 years and five months,” Mrs. Dean told CSBS4 Reporter Donna Rapado. “And I’m really happy spending quality time together. We did some of the best things together. We went places the other kids have never gone.”

Friends took to social media to express their shock and condolences.

Mrs. Dean said these were not the sort of parties her go-getter daughter — who was an athlete, musician and star student — ever went to.

Whoever shot her girl, she said she forgives them. But she hoped the shooter would do the right thing and turn himself in.

“She was a wonderful child. Someone had the nerve to take my child from me,” she told Rapado. “I wish they would be man enough to come and say, ‘I did it. I’m sorry.’ Every time I look at her picture it hurts way down here. There’s a hole in there. I don’t think it will ever be filled.”

Anyone with additional information regarding this shooting is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS. All calls are anonymous and could lead to a reward.

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