FRIENDS have described how Stacey Klimovitch was 'scared at times to leave her own home' following threats in the lead up to her murder in Stockton on Wednesday night.
Ms Klimovitch, a well-known swimming teacher, answered the door of her one-bedroom flat in Queen Street about 7.50pm and was shot in the chest. She died at the scene.
It's understood her 31-year-old daughter and newborn baby granddaughter were inside the house at the time of the shooting.
Friends told the Newcastle Herald there had been threats made to the family in the lead up to the shooting.
It is understood there was no altercation before the shot was fired - Ms Klimovitch had simply answered the door.
The 61-year-old who has three daughters and a son was a Stockton local who friends described as "absolutely beautiful".
"She had the biggest smile, was such a warm and loving person," a long-time friend said.
"But she talked about being scared, there were some issues going on with threats made to the family and at times she was worried about going outside.
"She was scared and had been talking about the problems for sometime."
It's believed she had been living in a house converted into flats for about a year.
In the months leading up to her death one of her daughters and her newborn baby had moved into the Queen Street flat.
"Stacey had such a soft heart and she just cared about everyone," another friend said.
"She probably taught every second kid in Stockton to swim. She was really proud of that. It's an absolute tragedy, she would not have hurt a fly."
Newcastle police commander Detective Superintendent Wayne Humphrey said police were "convinced" the shooting was targeted.
Detective Inspector Humphrey said police were still working out the identity of the shooter and detectives did not expect an imminent arrest - but he said investigators did not believe there was an immediate further threat to public safety.
He said the man fled along Queen Street and down Little William Street after killing Ms Klimovitch.
"I am convinced it is a targeted attack. For what purpose, I do not know," Detective Inspector Humphrey said.
"I want to assure the Stockton community though that the likelihood of a reoccurrence of this offence is very very unlikely."
Investigators are appealing for anyone who saw suspicious activity in the area at the time - or who may have dashcam footage - to contact police.
"We need to hear from you as soon as possible," he said.
"It's horrendous. An innocent person has answered the front door of a home and she's been shot in the chest and killed in the presence of a relative and a child.
"It doesn't get any worse."
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