Victim of NE Philly murder was a Ph.D student, former Miss Nigeria

Loving, caring, and a thirst for knowledge are just some of the things the family of Najeebat Sule wants you to know about her. The 24-year-old was tragically shot and killed on Friday, March 12, just before 6 p.m. near her family home on the 8800 block of Frankford Avenue.

Video Transcript

ALICIA VITARELLI: We are learning new information about a young woman shot to death in Philadelphia earlier this month. The distraught family members are now begging for answers. They cannot imagine who would have wanted to kill the PhD student working so hard for her future. Action News reporter George Solis live now at police headquarters with this absolutely tragic story. George.

GEORGE SOLIS: That's right, Alicia. And the family is understandably shaken up by this tragedy. The 24-year-old was just shot and killed outside of her home. The family did agree to speak with us this afternoon under the condition of anonymity.

Loving, caring, a thirst for knowledge, and a desire to make the world a better place. These just some of the things the family of Najeebat Sule want you to know about her.

- She was quiet when you first met her. But when you got to know her, she bloomed more.

- Getting a couple calls now for a report of a shooting, a female shot on the highway.

GEORGE SOLIS: The 24-year-old was tragically shot and killed just before 6:00 PM on March 12, just outside her family home here in the 8800 block of Frankford Ave. Her family spoke with Action News, and asked we not show their faces out of concern for their safety.

- This is the guy that shot my daughter. I tried to pursue him.

GEORGE SOLIS: Her father, who was home at the time, said he raced after the shooter after hearing several gunshots. Najee, as friends often called her, had just driven home for the day.

- I saw the guy wore a white hoodie, face mask, and black pants. So when I tried to grab the guy, he tried to come back to me. I said OK, don't let me lose my life.

GEORGE SOLIS: He then ran over to her and called 911. He would later learn from police his daughter had died.

- I don't know what to do now, where to start now.

GEORGE SOLIS: Najeebat moved to Pennsylvania from Nigeria in the early 2000s. She not only graduated from West Chester University, she returned to get her Master's and was working towards her PhD. She also achieved the title of Miss Nigeria.

- Since that was her platform, she talked about that. She was very talented, smart and funnily.

GEORGE SOLIS: These traits and more are why the family has been rocked to their core by her murder.

- She's the backbone of our community. She is the rock for the sisters and her parents. You know, as young as she is, yo don't expect somebody like her to fall victim.

GEORGE SOLIS: Family, of course, desperate for answers, and pleading with anyone to come forward with information. Police tell Action News their investigation is ongoing, but at this time have no suspects or motive. We are live outside Philadelphia police headquarters. George Solis, Channel 6 Action News. Alicia?

ALICIA VITARELLI: All right. George, thank you.