Nicole Handley

Nicole Handley was bleeding from a gunshot wound to her stomach early, but managed to retrieve a weapon and return fire on her assailant, her ex-boyfriend, Gary police said.

Both died from each other’s gunshot wounds at Handley’s home in the 5200 block of Adams Street in Gary’s Glen Park neighborhood, police said.

Handley, 31, the mother of four boys, was in a backroom of her home at 53rd Avenue and Adams Street when police arrived about 1:30 a.m. Her ex-boyfriend, Larry Bray, of Gary, was lying on the living-room floor. She was shot once, and he died from multiple gunshot wounds, a news release from the Lake County coroner said.

“She was a hard worker and a good mother, a vital part of our family,” Kim Roby, Handley’s aunt, said Thursday afternoon. Handley operated a small cleaning business that was “taking off pretty good,” Roby said. “This is a great loss.”

He and Handley shared a child, her youngest, a 6-year-old boy, but they were not a couple, family members said.

“He was the kind who didn’t know what ‘no’ meant,” Roby said. “They weren’t together, but he couldn’t get his mind around that fact.”

A longtime family friend was visiting Handley’s home and told police he heard arguing and told both Handley and Bray they needed to quiet down, police said. He left the room, then heard gunshots. Both victims died with guns still in their hands, officials said. The man had a pistol, while Handley had an assault-type rifle.  Excerpts as Reported by the Gary Post Tribune staff on February 11, 2016.

Mercedes, Nicole’s mother, said Nicole loved baking cookies and cakes and trying out new recipes on her boys. Her mother laughingly refused to be her guinea pig.

Mercedes recounted how Nicole spent quality time with her children, taking them to the library and playground.

Mercedes said she thinks about Nicole all of the time. From getting up in the morning until going to bed at night.  Her heart is so heavy with pain. She will never get over her loss

Mercedes wanted people to know, Nicole’s life mattered. She loved her sons and she lost her life while defending their lives.

Nicole leaves behind her four son, Jaishawmn 11, Malachi 10, Jaden 8 and Amari who just celebrated his 7th Birthday. Her parents, Climmie and Mercedes Handley are now raising them.