A Minneapolis 911 dispatcher who worked “day-and-night to keep people safe” was tragically killed over the weekend after her car was struck by a church pastor who was driving the wrong way and is believed to have been drinking, police say.
Jenna Bixby, 30, was killed around 8 p.m. while heading to her job Saturday night on Highway 252 in Brooklyn Park.
"We just want to know why,” her sister, Nikki Orlicki, told FOX9. "We don't understand. Why her? She was going to work to save people, and somebody decided to take her life and didn't care."
Authorities said Bixby’s car was hit head on by an SUV driven by Richard J. Shaka, a retired 72-year-old minister from Blaine, and alcohol is suspected to have been a factor. Bixby was pronounced dead at the scene while Shaka was in critical condition Sunday at a local hospital. No charges have been announced yet in the case.
"Minneapolis’ Emergency Communications staff work day-and-night to keep people safe. As a 911 Dispatcher, that’s what Jenna Bixby did for years – and what she was on her way to do at City Hall when her life was tragically taken late last night,” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey “My thoughts are with her family, friends, neighbors and all of her colleagues in City Hall who are mourning her loss. She was an extraordinary person.”
Bixby started working with Minneapolis emergency communications nearly four years ago and helped train new members, the Star Tribune reported.
“Please know that I never stopped loving you with all my heart, and I will never stop loving you,” her husband Daniel wrote on Facebook Sunday morning, according to the newspaper.
Shaka was the founder of the All Nations Christian Assembly in North East Minneapolis, where he served as a pastor for 17 years.
"Our mission is to reach all the nations in the Twin Cities and the metropolitan in MN and the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ through missions, Evangelism and the proclamation of the Gospel,” the Assembly, which describes itself as an “international Bible believing church,” says on its website.
Shaka also taught at North Central University’s Bible and Theology Department from 1996 to 2011, and started a Twin Cities nonprofit group that builds orphanages and youth facilities in Sierra Leone, his home country, the Star Tribune reported.