BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — A 21-year-old woman who was shot and killed in an attempted carjacking in north Boulder County just after midnight Sunday has been identified by her family.

“She was a beautiful person. They took a huge light from this Earth doing what they did,” Harley Blair, a half-sister, told FOX31.

The family confirmed with FOX31 and Channel 2 that the victim was 21-year-old Taylor Mahkenna Smith. Her family said she had been living in Aurora and working at Primrose School in Castle Rock.

“The amount of love she had in her heart was not only remarkable. It was admirable. She would do anything for anyone. It didn’t matter the time of day or the time of night it was, if someone needed, she was there. Always,” Blair said.

Smith’s younger sister said her sister had just turned 21 back in May of this year.

“I watched her grow into such an amazing woman. And she had so much life left to live. So many things to see, to do. They took the most loving person away. And it’ll never be the same without her here. Nobody could fill her shoes. She was one of a kind,” Blair said.

A friend of the family started a GoFundMe to help cover both funeral costs and a car for Taylor’s mom, who was also in the car when the attempted carjacking happened.

What led up to the deadly shooting

The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office said Smith was the passenger in the vehicle with her mother when they came to a stop at the intersection of U.S. 287 and Yellowstone Road around 12:30 a.m.

“The suspects got out of their disabled vehicle and one of the suspects shot at the victim’s vehicle with a handgun, striking the victim. It is believed that the primary suspect had shot at the victim’s vehicle in an attempt to carjack them,” BCSO said.

Smith ended up at a Longmont hospital where she died shortly after arriving, and the Sheriff’s Office was notified by a call from the City of Longmont about a gunshot victim being treated at a local hospital.

Deputy chased suspect vehicle before shooting

The suspects’ vehicle had been pursued about 15 minutes before the call came into BCSO by a Larimer County Sheriff’s Office deputy on a possible DUI from an unincorporated area through Berthoud. It was last seen heading southbound on U.S. 287 near Colorado 56 when the deputy stopped the pursuit.

Fifteen minutes after the pursuit, Boulder County got a call about a suspicious vehicle at the intersection of U.S. 287 and Yellowstone Road with people running away from it.

Smith’s sister describes what happened

“The first bullet broke the window and the second went behind my mom on her back and went into my sister’s arm and into her lung killing her almost instantly,” Trinity Norton, Smith’s younger sister, said. 

Norton said her sister graduated from Castleview High School in Castle Rock back in 2019. 

“My mom said she’s never driven that fast in her life to get to that hospital. By the time she got there, she was pronounced dead,” Norton said. 

“It kinda hit me as a shock and didn’t hit me until later,” Norton said. 

Norton said despite the loss she still talks out loud to her sister. 

“You couldn’t have stopped this. They are getting charged with what they deserve and hopefully more,” Norton said.