Friend speaks out after comforting Inman homicide victim in her - FOX Carolina 21

Friend speaks out after comforting Inman homicide victim in her final moments

Friend speaks out after comforting Inman homicide victim in her final moments

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Natalie Niemitalo (Source: Family) Natalie Niemitalo (Source: Family)
INMAN, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Friends and family brought to tears, looking at pictures.

"I love this picture of her,” said cousin Alexia Coponen. “She already looks like an angel."

Family says Natalie Niemitalo is now their guardian angel, a free spirit taken too soon.

"I'm going to miss her so much,” Coponen said. “She was loved by so many people."

The family said it's still hard for them to wrap their head around. Their fun-loving Natalie, who deputies said was shot to death by Lance Brewton after an argument in the car, in the driveway of her Inman home.

"I hate it. She didn't deserve it,” Coponen said. “But I am happy she wasn't alone."

The cousin said the whole family wishes they could have been there to say their goodbyes and to hold her hand one last time. Kevin Schuermann was actually there and he said those final moments were heartbreaking.

"It didn't seem like that was her time,” Schuermann said. “It seemed like she still had so much to do."

Schuermann lives just around the corner from the Zimmerman Road home, and he said he called Natalie Monday morning.

"She sounded upset and wanted me to come over," the friend said.

Just minutes later, Schuermann said he got into a car with Natalie and Brewton, who were arguing. Schuermann said what unfolded next, happened so fast.

"All of a sudden I heard a ringing in my ears,” Schuermann said. “And instinctively I kind of ran and I thought he had shot me."

When the ringing stopped, he said all he could hear was Natalie crying.

"He was pulling her out of the car and dropped her on the grass," the witness said.

That's when Schuermann said Brewton got in the car and took off. Immediately the friend dialed 911 and held Natalie in his arms.

"I was convinced she was going to pull through," Schuermann said. “She’s always been so strong.”

The injuries were too severe, however, and Natalie passed away.

With Brewton now behind bars in Spartanburg County, the family has just one question: Why?

"Out of her dying, what did he gain?” Coponen said. “It was senseless. Just, why?"

As they share their favorite memories, the tragic events become all too real.

"He killed an amazing person,” the cousin said. “And he deserves nothing but misery for the rest of his life."

Through the pain and grieving, they said Natalie was loved. They said her bold and adventurous personality is how she'll always be remembered.

"She was so caring of everybody and really made everybody feel special," Coponen said.

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