GRAND FORKS — Valerie Tronnes says it felt like having her heart ripped out when she got the call in the middle of the night Sunday, Sept. 19, that her 28-year-old granddaughter Megan Gustafson had been shot and killed at her north end home.

"It has been a nightmare, just unimaginable," she said.

Gustafson leaves behind an 8-year-old daughter who was not home at the time of the murder.

"(It's) so hard to know she will never see her again," Tronnes said.

Gustafson was Tronnes' first grandchild, and they were always close. The one word she said people have used over and over in the past week and a half to describe her granddaughter has been "generous."

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Tronnes said she was a kind soul who loved everybody.

"She would always try and make somebody laugh. She had a zany, crazy sense of humor about her," Tronnes said with a laugh.

Gustafson's family said they can't thank the Grand Forks community enough for all of the love and support during this difficult time.

"The community has just stood up, and they have reached out in any way they could," Tronnes said.

The past week and a half has also been filled with questions for the family. Who is her accused killer, 26-year-old Ahmed Abdullahi? The family says they know little about him, but noted the two never dated.

Why did he allegedly shoot Gustafson in front of the police, and why did Megan turn the police away from her front door just moments prior to the murder?

The family said they won't let the tragedy overshadow who Megan Gustafson was as they fight for justice for her and her daughter, who will have to grow up without her mother.

A fundraiser has been setup for the family and Megan Gustafson's daughter at https://www.facebook.com/donate/597703267895676/.