25-year-old Carmen Cai Yi Lee was shot and killed in a small city outside of Atlanta, Georgia just one week before her birthday, while driving home from a friend's barbecue on May 29.
The child of Malaysian immigrants, she was described by loved ones as being selfless.
Found unresponsive in car by police
According to Doraville police, an officer noticed Lee's car pulled over on the road at around 9:30pm on May 29. When the officer checked the vehicle, he found Lee unresponsive in the driver's seat.
Responding officers then began rendering aid, and in the course of doing so, discovered that Lee had suffered a gunshot wound.
She was confirmed dead on the scene.
According to local newspaper The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC), there have been at least 30 shootings so far in 2021 on roads in metro Atlanta and the surrounding counties.
10 people, including Lee, died after being shot while driving or riding in cars.
AJC reported that investigators said that many of the cases have been attributed to road rage, and that the majority of road shootings remain unsolved.
Police are appealing for information on the case that might help them in the ongoing investigation into Lee's death.
Lee's boyfriend added that she was scared by news of increased crime and gun violence in metro Atlanta, and that she had recently started carrying around pepper spray.
Atlanta news network CBS46 reported that police told Lee's family that it was a case of wrong time wrong place.
Lee was the "glue" of the family
Lee's parents had immigrated from Malaysia to the U.S. before she was born, her boyfriend told AJC, and as the oldest of three children, she was dedicated to being a role model to her younger brothers and helping her parents.
Her boyfriend described her as "the most gentle soul" and "selfless":
"She was always doing something for someone else. I had to remind her, 'Stop let’s take care of yourself first.'"
Her brother told CBS46:
"She was so dedicated to have a successful life for her parents, that’s all she wanted to do, ease the pain of her parents."
Lee's cousin said that she was their "glue" and their "everything".
Had plans to buy home with boyfriend
According to AJC, Lee was working as a financial portfolio analyst after graduating from the University of Georgia in 2018 with a finance degree.
She and her boyfriend were planning to buy a home together in Duluth, another suburb of Atlanta, so that she could be close to her parents.
Lee's boyfriend added that she loved being surrounded by friends and being outdoors. She also had picked up pottery and snowboarding as hobbies.
"We have an angel up there," he said.
GoFundMe to support family
Lee's youngest brother set up a GoFundMe to raise money for her parents to help cover her funeral and memorial services. It has garnered US$59,674 (S$79,037.32) in donations so far.
"I am devastated knowing that my sister won't be there for my most important moments. [...] She was one of the few people that believed in me," her brother wrote.
"Being the older child meant she had the most responsibility. She was put in the position of taking care of our parents and her younger siblings.
Yet, even with all that responsibility on her shoulders, she never gave in, but persevered through her hardships to get to where she was."
Top photo from Lee family via Fox5 and AJC.