PLEASANT GROVE, Utah (ABC4) – Nicki Peterson, allegedly killed by her 21-year-old son around midnight on May 20, had just celebrated her marriage last month.
“The wedding is what I want to remember,” said the victim’s friend, Courtnie Fordham.
Fordham says the April wedding was such a remarkable turnaround for Nicki. She was smiling, happy and in love.
“I’m gonna be so sad every time I think about what happened,” said Fordham.
Around midnight Friday, police say Nicki’s son allegedly shot and killed her after an argument. Pleasant Grove Police say the son, arrested at a nearby cemetery, admitted to the crime.
“To be shot and killed by her own son — it’s just unimaginable,” said Fordham.
Those who knew Nicki say this tragedy came after she’d overcome so much — domestic violence, addiction — and had transformed her life into one of service.
“She was a person that took her past, and everything she overcame, and just made such good from it and gave back from it,” said Gina Jernukian, with Soul Survivor Ink.
The non-profit organization relies upon volunteers like Nicki, who’s a tattoo artist in her own right, to help sex trafficking victims by either covering up branding marks with tattoos or removing those marks altogether.
In a Facebook post, the group honored Nicki’s life, saying:
“It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to one of the kindest souls to work with Soul Survivor Ink. Our tattoo artist Nicki was shot and killed last night, May 19th. Nicki was such a generous and selfless person. She would often travel out of state to help cover up and remove the brandings from sex trafficking survivors. Even when she had a very busy schedule, she would find the time to help with our cause. Many of the hands upon our freedom tree are survivors she personally had worked with. She will be greatly missed among the Soul Survivor Ink family. We pray for her husband KC and that justice will be served.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: ABC4 initially reported that this incident occurred in Springville. The story has now been corrected to reflect that the incident took place in Pleasant Grove.