Family remembers woman killed in Wilmington apartment shooting


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The family of a young woman shot and killed earlier this month is speaking out.

WWAY spoke with the mother and four older sisters of 19-year-old Shelby Hershberger, who was found fatally shot in her apartment on Hearthside Drive on November 9.

“Sassy, funny, loud, caring, lovable, bouncy. I don’t think there’s just 3 words that could describe her. Shelby was one of a kind.”

Shelby’s mother Ruth Miller, and her older sisters Nikki, Shania, Angela, and Monica, said Shelby Hershberger was the youngest of five daughters. They said her death has had a significant impact on their tight-knit family.

“When we heard it one by one, I can just hear the screams, ‘no, no, no it can’t be. It’s not Shelby, it’s not true, it’s –we just could not wrap our mind around it,” said Ruth Miller, Shelby Hershberger’s mother.

The suspect, Shelby’s ex-boyfriend 23-year-old Daniel Hernandez, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside the young woman’s apartment on Hearthside Drive.

Her mother and sisters say Shelby never expressed any domestic violence concerns, or worried for her safety. They all say it still feels unreal that she is gone.

“He took Shelby and it broke us, it shattered us, but he took his own life and he too was a special human being, and it hurt his family and his friends, and if you’re thinking those things, think about the pain and the damage that you cause to the people that you leave behind,” said Monica Hershberger.

Her sister Shania Mendez said the family forgives the suspect.

“We have chosen to forgive Daniel, because I know that by not forgiving someone, you are no better than that person,” said Shania Mendez.

Forgiveness doesn’t make the pain or loss any easier, as her family continues to miss her optimistic and joyful personality.

“I still think when we’re all in my apartment, she’s going to bounce in there any minute, with her ‘Boo, I’m here! Where is everybody?,'” said Miller.

A week before Shelby was killed, her sister Nikki Hershberger said Shelby told a close friend she hopes when she gets to heaven “God will give her some bougie wings.”

Shelby’s family has created a GoFundMe to raise money to cover her celebration of life and funeral expenses. They also are starting a hashtag on social media, asking people to use #twerksforshelby, to carry on her legacy of her upbeat personality, love for body positivity, and dance.

Categories: Local, New Hanover, Top Stories