Man Killed Defending Girlfriend From Armed Robbers in National Forest


Adam Simjee (22) and girlfriend Makayla Paulus (20), just hours before tragedy struck. (Photo: ABC News)

A young man was shot and killed earlier this month when he and his girlfriend faced armed robbers near Cheaha State Park in Alabama.

The young couple, identified as 22-year-old Adam Simjee and 20-year-old Makayla Paulus, had just gone to see some waterfalls in the nearby state park when things went terribly awry.

Both students at the University of Central Florida, who were taking one last trip before the start of classes the following week, Simjee and Paulus stopped to help a woman seemingly stranded on the side of the road. 

“He was the love of my life” – Makayla Paulus. (Photo: Paulus/ABC News)

Makayla says the woman had “flagged [them] down,” and asked if they could help start her broken-down car, as local news affiliate ABC33/44 reported.

“[Eventually], when nothing could be done, she pulled out a gun and told us to walk into the woods,” Makayla added.  

This woman, later identified as Yasmine Hider, demanded Paulus and Simjee give her their wallets and phones. Next, she demanded passwords and banking numbers. 

Paulus said she was waiting for Simjee to pull out his own concealed handgun. She said their parents hadn’t been keen on the trip in the first place, but Adam had assured them that they would be fine because he had a gun. 

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

According to a WBRC interview with Heather Lambert, Makayla’s mother, the attacker let down the gun for a second, and this was when Simjee made his move.

He pulled out his gun and told Paulus to drop to the ground for safety.

Hider, in the meantime, grabbed her gun and attempted to fire it. It jammed, and Simjee managed to get out several shots to her torso and leg before Hider cleared the weapon and discharged a round that hit Simjee in the chest. 

Paulus searched around for her phone and dialed 911, then took off her shirt to staunch the blood pouring from her boyfriend’s chest.

Thirty minutes later, police and paramedics found her performing CPR on the now lifeless Simjee.

Lambert stated that it is likely that he had been alive for at least 20 minutes after the initial shot, but that the emergency responders had taken too long to get there. 

Having been injured by Simjee, and unable to flee, Hider was still at the scene when the first responders arrived. 

Hider was flown to a hospital to be operated on for a shattered femur, and police started an investigation into the incident.

Upon further questioning, Paulus remembered that another woman had been present in the woods, but had disappeared when police arrived.

This spurred a manhunt for the second suspect, a woman by the name of Krystal Diane Pinkins.

Police put the word of the now-wanted Pinkins out to the public and received information of a “base camp” in the near vicinity where people were attempting to live “off the grid”. 

After enlisting canine units, Pinkins was found in a camp with a large number of tents roughly half a mile from the murder scene.

According to police reports obtained by WBRC, officers ordered Pinkins to the ground when a 5-year-old child exited one of the tents carrying a loaded shotgun.

The child was convinced to set down the gun, but not before he walked a good bit closer to Pinkins, who was later identified as his mother. 

The boy was taken by child protective services. Pinkins was arrested, and now she and Hider are facing charges of murder, kidnapping, and robbery. 

Later, when talking about the situation and her late boyfriend with 1819news, Paulus described him as a “hero,” and said he was a “proud supporter of the Second Amendment.”

She doubts she would have survived the ordeal either had he not been carrying at the time.

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