‘Nothing will be the same without her.’: Brother remembers Carly Rae Baron one year after shooting

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — One year after a young woman’s tragic death, her family is still recovering.

Jaquan Cortez Jackson is still awaiting trial after he allegedly shot and killed 23-year-old Carly Rae Baron in a road rage incident Halloween 2020. One year later, Baron’s brother Colin says he’s still healing after losing his best friend.

Three years apart, Colin says he always felt protective over his sister, Carly Rae. As they grew older, that protectiveness turned into a bond not easily broken.

“We were just, we were very supportive of one another,” Colin said. “We did everything together. We were best friends.”

Colin said Carly was the ultimate cheerleader, encouraging friends and family to follow their dreams. When Colin followed his and became a professional umpire, Carly was there every step of the way.

“She drove probably six hours to Bluefield, West Virginia.” Colin smiled. “I mean she would come to any town. She was like, if you’re less than 10 hours away, I’m driving. I’m going to come watch the game, I’m going to come see you.”

The last time he saw his little sister, they drove to an LSU football game and lost their voices from all their laughing and cheering.

“I have the tickets, the program, everything hanging up in my room. It was one of my last favorite memories I had with her,” he said.

Halloween of last year, he got a call late at night. Carly had been in an accident. The parties in both cars argued, and Baron was shot and killed.

Colin said it felt like living in a nightmare he could never wake up from.

“We had such a long life ahead of us. All the holidays to be together, our kids grow up together and to just have that feel like it was taken away from you as such a young age… it was… I mean it was absolutely heart-breaking. It still is. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it.”

The community support since has helped ease the pain. Since then, friends and family have gathered to remember Carly. Cape Fear Community College and Ashley High School even retired her basketball jerseys in her memory.

Colin believes the response says a lot about his sister.

“The first thing I’d want to show her, you know, look how many people love you.”

Since that day, he and his wife have had a little girl named Stella Rae Baron, after her aunt.

And though life moves one, this Sunday, Colin says he can’t help but dwell on the past, when his best friend and sister was still around.

“It’s everything,” Colin explained. “It’s my whole life flipped upside down now. I lost my absolute best friend, and nothing will ever be the same without her.”

November 5-7, Baron’s former modeling agency and basketball teams will host a fashion show and Carly Rae Classic basketball tournament in her honor.

Jackson’s bond was set at $750,000. He is still awaiting trial.

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