TAMPA — Metosha D. Godwin had an extra pep in her step in recent weeks, her family said.
Godwin had plans for her future. Her own hair salon, perhaps, and maybe a clothing store that had affordable yet fashionable items.
"She was in a good place," said Godwin's niece Shawntavia Dunbar. "This isn't fair. She didn't deserve what she got."
Godwin, 50, was shot and killed early Sunday by Sol William Hoke, 39, at the Tampa Super Shop at 3401 E Lake Ave., according to Tampa police.
Hoke faces charges of first-degree murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Authorities responded about 1:20 a.m. to the gas station, where officers and firefighters tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate Godwin. Officers identified the suspect as Hoke, who was known to Godwin, police said.
They found Hoke just after 2 a.m. Almost an hour later, officers arrested him after a stand-off with police at Fletcher Avenue and 20th Street N, about 8 miles north of the gas station. He was booked into the Hillsborough County jail, where he remained held without bail Sunday.
According to state corrections records, Hoke has served prison time for several charges, including cocaine possession and sale, robbery and fleeing from police.
Hoke and Godwin had been dating for a while, Dunbar said. And while the couple had occasional disagreements, and the family knew Hoke had a criminal history, Dunbar said there were no warnings that he was capable of such an act.
But on Sunday night, relatives preferred not to speak of Hoke or the shooting, but instead focus on Godwin's life.
"She was a great woman," said niece April Smith. "She was always there for everybody."
Not only would Godwin look after her four grandchildren, she was always willing to babysit any young relatives.
"She nurtured all the kids like her own," Smith said.
Smith recalled a time she mentioned to Godwin in passing of a need for new clothes. Godwin left the room and returned an hour later with a pile of garments for her.
"She was always asking what everyone needed," Smith said. "She would give you the shirt off her back. It didn't matter if you were kin or just a friend or someone new."
Godwin was a native of Newark, N.J., but was raised in Tampa. She attended Tampa Bay Tech and in recent years forged a career in hairstyling, with braiding a specialty. She would work at beauty and hair salons when needed, but for the most part focused on house calls.
"Everyone knew her for hair or for being crazy, but in a good way," Dunbar said with a laugh in between sobs. "She was always the loudest person in a room. She loved life and you could tell by watching her."
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