Bambi Hilburn, 38, had only known Victory Ocampo, 42, for two months, but the mother of two was in high spirits when she called her sister, Christy Gregor, the day before her death.
"She was telling us how happy she was and how everything was going great for her in her life," Gregor said through tears. "She said he treated her like a queen and kept saying, 'I'm so happy. This is the happiest I've ever been.'"
Hilburn had recently come out of a 20-year bad relationship and Ocampo was the first person she dated since her breakup, Gregor said. Hilburn left behind two daughters, ages 5 and 16, who are being cared for by her sister.
The couple had driven 20 minutes to the Bullet Hole shooting range in Overland Park, Kan. Police said they received a call reporting a suicide at around 11:20 a.m. Tuesday morning, but upon arriving at the scene, they determined that the deaths were a murder-suicide.
"We don't believe there was anyone else involved. Everything indicates that they were there together," Matthew Bregel, the public information officer for the Overland Park Police Department, said. "At this point, the police report lists the crime as murder in the first degree and the female party as the victim."
Bregel said that the small indoor facility has four shooting lanes that are sectioned off in separate areas, but he was unsure whether a centrally located desk could supervise all four areas.
When a medical squad arrived, both people were pronounced dead at the scene.
This is not the first time the Bullet Hole has been the site of deadly shootings. In March 2010, a man committed suicide at the range and three others killed themselves there in 1997, according to the Kansas City Star newspaper.
The Bullet Hole did not respond to requests for comment.
"There are several other ranges around the metropolitan area, so it's unusual that this one has seen this a couple times," Bregel said. "But if someone has that intent in mind, it could be any place."
To Hilburn's family and friends, the news came as a total shock. All indications pointed to a happy couple. At 3:21 a.m. Aug. 14, Ocampo posted on Facebook that he was in a relationship with Hilburn. Twenty minutes later, she wrote on his page, "Love you babe!!!!!"
Still today, Hilburn's profile picture appears to show her, Ocampo and her young daughter smiling and posing together on a couch. But the messages on Ocampo's page are far from happy.
"To all you single Ladies that were here online to meet a Boyfriend/Mate/companion…I hope this opens your eyes as to what is out there for you when you open your heart to someone you met online after a very short period of time," Hilburn's cousin, Tammy Ellis-Harkness, wrote on Ocampo's Facebook page. "Now there is a Beautiful Little girl with no Mommy and no answers."
Other messages express anger and disgust for the man who allegedly killed Hilburn at a moment when she seemed to be turning a corner and heading in a positive direction.
"Her past relationship was bad and she finally got away from him and was standing on her own two feet and doing things on her own," sister Gregor said. "All her life, she's been dealing with abusive men. We didn't even question [this relationship] because she was so happy."