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Young mother killed; ex, 2 teens now charged with her murder

Zaria McKeever's sister Tiffynnie Epps speaks out on her murder

BROOKLYN PARK, Minnesota — A young mother in Brooklyn Park is dead, and her ex-boyfriend is accused of giving a gun to two teens who shot her.

Now the victim's sister is speaking out about the red flags they saw and sadly underestimated.

Tiffynnie Epps was pregnant the same time as her younger sister Zaria McKeever. Their kids are the same age. And now Zaria's daughter will have to grow up without her mom.

Tiffynnie says her younger sister Zaria was born to be a mom.

"She planned to be a mom before she was a mom. She already had names picked out. Things that she wanted to do," Tiffynnie said.

But Tiffynnie said the man Zaria had her baby Zanaydior with was not the man she was meant to be with long-term.

"We were just like, 'Why are you with a person like this when you could do so much better?' You know?" Tiffynnie said.

She said Erick Haynes -- after Zaria broke up with him -- got jealous and would follow her, directly threatening Zaria's new boyfriend.

"He said that – he told us that day – he told us to 'watch what's going to happen to your boyfriend,'" Tiffynnie said. "We both, I guess, just underestimated him."

According to the criminal complaint, Haynes admitted to police he gave a gun to two teens he knows and drove them to Zaria's boyfriend's apartment to beat him up.

The complaint goes on to say that with Haynes in the car outside, the teens kicked in the apartment door and shot and killed Zaria.

Her sister Tiffynnie believes Zaria was protecting her boyfriend and thought she could de-escalate.

"She thought she could calm him down or get him to leave, and if her new boyfriend would leave, everything would be good, you know?" Tiffynnie said.

Now -- with Zaria gone -- Tiffynnie says she will help raise little Zanaydior and make sure she grows up knowing the kind of person her mom was.

"We've got so many memories. we're definitely going to show her and tell her. She's definitely going to be loved," Tiffynnie said.

Haynes is charged with second-degree murder, and the two teens face the same charge in juvenile court.

Tiffynnie is hoping prosecutors will increase the charge to first-degree murder, considering -- according to the criminal complaint -- they have video evidence of stalking leading up to the shooting.

Zaria's family has set up a Gofundme page to help with funeral expenses.

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