VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — As we all try to process what happened on Friday, May 31, 2019, there are stories of love and laughter trickling in amid all of the darkness.
Laquita Brown's life was cut short in the mass shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center.
FULL COVERAGE: Tragedy in Virginia Beach
But one of her friends wants us to all to do one thing: keep smiling because she says that's what Quita, as her friends nicknamed her, would want.
"Oh my gosh [her laughter] was so contagious. You would just laugh and laugh and laugh because she was so fun," said Candice Rauch
Rauch said she'd been waiting for the day she could finally do her friend's makeup... if she ever walked down the aisle.
Now that day will never come.
"It's like, wow I'm never going to be able to do Quita's makeup for her wedding. And that part... that part really hurts," she said.
Rauch got a text Friday night that flipped her world upside down. She learned her friend was one of the 12 victims killed in the Virginia Beach massacre.
"I just I immediately broke down," Rauch tearfully recalled. "She didn't deserve to die like that... she didn't deserve to die like that."
No, she didn't.
What she deserved is exactly what she dished out on a daily basis: smiles, hugs, and positive energy.
"If you were around Quita, you were going to have the best time of your life," Rauch said. "She was your best friend, whether you knew her or not."
Now we all know Quita, so maybe we're all her friends now.
Let's remember our friend, for all the right reasons.
"Didn't matter if she knew you for one second or 20 years," said Rauch. "She cared... she cared, and I'm gonna miss her."
More on the victims and survivors:
- 'Picture perfect neighbor' among the slain in mass shooting
- Virginia Beach mass shooting survivor recalls finding one of the first victims
- Mass shooting victim Missy Langer was supposed to be on vacation with her sister
- Tidewater Pipes & Drums remembers Christopher Rapp
- Church, friends remember contractor killed in Virginia Beach mass shooting
- 'Her laugh was infectious' | Best friend remembers Kate Nixon
- Survivor who crossed path with Virginia Beach gunman thought it was a drill
- Survivor: Keith Cox saved lives during the Municipal Center shooting