WINDSOR -- Until Wednesday night, Shaneice Palmer felt like South Carolina was hundreds of miles away from Connecticut. But after hearing the news of the tragedy at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church, everything hit home.
Shaneice found out she'd lost her friend and classmate, 26-year-old Tywanza Sanders, who was one shot and killed at the Charleston church.
"My first thoughts were...wow...not 'Wanza," said Palmer during an exclusive interview with Fox CT. "He was a great person, he was very nice. All he wanted to do was change his life around and walk with God."
Palmer, who lives in Bloomfield, attended Allen University with Tywanza, a Charleston native. He graduated in 2014 with a degree in business administration. Friends described Sanders as a talented artist who held friends, faith and family close to his heart.
"He was more like our class clown," said Palmer, adding that he was very genuine. "Just always wanted to make people laugh and he started going back to church. He was doing poetry on the weekends and he was just an all around a nice guy, just the kind of person you'd want to hang around."
Shaneice attended a prayer vigil Thursday afternoon at the Hopewell Baptist Church in Windsor, where she was surrounded by pastors who prayed for her and her friends who are coping with the loss. In the meantime, Shaneice says she's still trying to make sense of it all while she continues to grieve.
"You're not safe anywhere you go. You just have to consistently pray and keep faith that you're going to be protected that no weapon formed against you shall prosper. Everything happens for a reason. He's just another angel that God called home."