BEDFORD—STUYVESANT — A single mom and nurse who was killed during a shootout outside her family's apartment in a Brooklyn housing project was just days from her 25th birthday, relatives said.
Nicoleia Taylor, 24, was on a break from work Tuesday and was visiting her family at the Lafayette Gardens Houses when she was hit by an errant bullet, cops said. According to witnesses, she was caught in the crossfire, but cops could not immediately confirm that.
Taylor, a nurse living in East New York who worked with disabled kids, had a 4-year-old son and would have turned 25 on Oct. 7.
“She was a good, hard-working single mother of one," said Sheohnna Taylor, the victim's sister. "I’m still waiting to wake up from this bad dream."
Police identified Corey Brown, 21, as a suspect in the shooting.
Sheohnna Taylor said she had known Brown for about 10 years, and saw him shoot her sister.
According to Sheohnna, Brown approached the complex's courtyard with two others. One of the men passed a gun to Brown, she said.
"I put up my hands to try to stop them," Sheohnna Taylor said. "I told them 'Y'all don't have to do this, please don't do this.'"
Minutes later, Taylor was hovering over her sister's body, trying to give her CPR.
"I was trying to talk to her, telling her to stay with me, listen to my voice," Sheohnna said.
A man who identified himself as Brown's uncle arrived at the complex late Wednesday morning, hoping to help the Taylor family and give his condolences. He said that this was not Brown's first experience with guns — according to the uncle, Brown was shot in May.
"He's a product of his environment, most people in this community have a troubled history," he said.
Nicoleia was one of seven siblings, many of whom still lived at 470 Dekalb Ave., just blocks from the Pratt Institute.
Her mother, Geraldine Taylor, died saving family members from a fire in the building in 2008, Sheohnna said.
Friends said that Nicoleia had a similar spirit of selflessness.
"She loved her family, she would do anything for them — she would give them the last of her paycheck," said Monique Bell, a friend of eight years. "I've seen her go without food to make sure her brother and sister had."
Police said the investigation into the shooting was ongoing.