VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Virginia Beach resident Otessa Mitchell was in church Sunday morning when her pastor spoke of a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio.
"I had no idea that I was connected to anyone. I started searching on social media, and I thought, 'This can't be true,'" said Mitchell.
Within minutes, her phone rang and she learned that her friend of a decade, 36-year-old Beatrice Warren Curtis, known by her friends as "Bea" or "Nicole," was killed.
"It was heartbreaking. Tears started flowing; I just couldn't believe it," Mitchell said.
Mitchell said that Bea was visiting her best friend for the weekend, Monica Brickhouse. The two worked at Anthem in Virginia Beach, where Curtis still worked before she was killed.
"She was such a phenomenal person. Caring, loving and supportive - just a great friend."
Brickhouse and Curtis died as they were heading out for a night on the town in Dayton's Oregon District. Nine people were killed and 27 others were injured.
"I'll remember her smile and her laugh. Anytime you were around her, you were guaranteed to have a good time; she was always the life of the party," Mitchell explained.
Mitchell told News 3 she just saw Beatrice a month ago.
"I remember the moment I saw her and she spoke to my son, gave him words of encouragement, and I know whatever she told him will stick with him the rest of his life," said Mitchell.
CBS Philadelphia reported that Beatrice grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, and had a love for auto body, at which she excelled in high school.
"Anyone that knows her knows she had the funniest laugh - you could hear it from across the room. She is going to be sorely missed," said Mitchell.
Ivy Baptist Church in Newport News will hold a memorial service for Curtis this Thursday at 6 p.m. in Newport News. Her funeral and burial service will be held this weekend in West Virginia.