‘She was a pillar in the community’: Friends of 50-year-old shooting victim remember her as ‘a survivor’

VIDEO: Woman killed in downtown Seattle shooting remembered as ?big-hearted?

SEATTLE — The only person killed when eight people were shot in Wednesday’s downtown shoot out was described by close friends as a nurturing, big-hearted person who acted as a caretaker for people who shared struggles like she had.

“She was just an outgoing person,“ said Donella Young-Rials, who said she had been friends with 50- year-old Tonya Jackson for two decades.

“She had come such a long way,“ Young-Rials said. “She was doing really good after all she’d been through.”

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Young-Rials said she met Jackson when both were struggling with homelessness and addictions on the streets of Seattle for seven long years.

Eventually, both women accepted counseling, became clean and sober, and both were granted permanent housing at the same time.

“We had overcome a lot,” young-Riles“We had overcome a lot,“ young-Rials said. “It was crazy, because we both got our housing and it was like ’Wow, we finally did it!”’

Young-Rials believes Jackson-who was fondly known as “Kristy” and “Big Bird” to her friends- was helping a fellow Plymouth housing resident – a 55-year-old woman confined to a wheelchair – when both were caught in the hail of gunfire outside the door of the McDonalds at 3rd and Pine.

According to Harborview Medical Center, the 55-year-old victim remains in intensive care after being shot in the abdomen.

“She is going to be very well missed,“ Young-Rials said—adding a comment directed at the two shooters who police say are still on the run.

“She was a pillar in our community. She was a good girl. And now the shooters’ family is going to be hurting too. Because when they get caught their family is going to suffer just like you killed yourself and your own family.“