A former Nigerian beauty queen and doctoral student, Najeebat Sule, has been shot dead while sitting in her car in front of her family’s home in Philadelphia.
The 24-year-old known to her loved ones as Najee was killed shortly before 6pm on March 12, steps away from her residence in the 8800 block of Frankford Avenue.
Nearly three weeks later, police have not found a motive and have made no arrests, leaving Sule’s family and friends searching for answers. She had only recently earned a Master’s degree in public health.
One of her friends, Magaji was among the last people to have seen Sule alive before she was gunned down. The two women had spent the night before at Magaji’s home, eating snacks and watching Netflix together.
Less than 24 hours later, Sule was sitting in her grey Toyota Corolla, exchanging text messages with Magaji, when an unidentified man walked up to the vehicle with a gun drawn and shot her several times.
Sule’s father, Adewale Sule, heard the gunfire and emerged from the house just in time to see the suspect fire the last of the shots at his daughter.
“I saw the guy shooting my daughter. He shot the last round, and I pursued him. He ran back to his car,” said the father.
Najee was rushed to Jefferson Torresdale Hospital, where she was pronounced dead about 30 minutes later.
Her mother, Tawakalitu Sule, said she last heard from Najeet less than two hours before the shooting when her daughter asked her when she would be home.
She is survived by her parents and two sisters. Sule had only recently earned a Master’s degree in public health from West Chester University and was pursuing a doctorate.
In 2019, she was crowned a second runner-up at the Miss Nigeria International pageant.
Najee’s shooting death comes amid a surge in gun violence in Philadelphia, which has seen a 29 percent homicide rate increase over the last year.
She is among 120 people who have been killed in Philadelphia so far this year, according to Fox29.