When Kacey McKinney's ex-boyfriend shot her dead on Feb. 13, her current boyfriend grabbed her 4-year-old son and saved his life by jumping from a second-story balcony, saving both of their lives

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February 20, 2018 05:04 PM

The family of a California woman fatally shot by the father of her 4-year-old son is hailing the woman’s boyfriend as a hero for jumping off a second-story balcony with the child as bullets whizzed by them, saving both of their lives.

“I call him every day and tell him how much I love him for saving my nephew’s life,” Destiny McKinney, who lost her sister Kacey Renee McKinney in the shooting, tells PEOPLE about the boyfriend, who asked that his name be withheld from the story.

On Feb. 13, McKinney’s ex-boyfriend, Bradley Thomas Woss, 33, and the father of her son, fatally shot her in her Redding, California, apartment, police said in a statement. Five days later, while on the run from authorities, Woss then turned the gun on himself, committing suicide.

Kacey McKinney
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Bradley Woss, 33
Redlands Police Department

McKinney broke up with Woss two years ago after a 12-year relationship, says Destiny.

He wanted her back, even though she was dating someone else, she says. Two days before the shooting, Destiny says her sister “told him she he didn’t want anything to do with him anymore. She was done.”

Destiny adds, “He went haywire.”

After showing up at McKinney’s apartment with a gun, he knocked down a door to a bedroom, where McKinney, her boyfriend and her son hid from him. Woss shot McKinney before turning the gun on the boyfriend and his own son, says Destiny.

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With nowhere else to turn, the boyfriend “grabbed the boy and jumped off the balcony,” she says.

Destiny says Woss then made his way out of the apartment and searched for the boyfriend and the boy.

“They were hiding in the bushes in the dark while Brad walked by. He was holding his hand over my nephew’s mouth so he wouldn’t make a sound and so Brad didn’t try to hurt them,” she says.

Five days later, Woss was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at a local golf club, say police.

‘We Just Want Our Beautiful Kacey Back’

As law enforcement continues to investigate, McKinney’s family grapples with her death.

“Our family is devastated,” says her cousin, Holly McKinney. Her son, she says, “was her whole world.”

McKinney “was more than a sister to me,” says Destiny. “She was a best friend. The most amazing person I’ve ever met in my life.”

Her cousin, Tisa James, says, “Kacey was like no one you’ve ever met before. She was liked by everyone who has ever met her. She lit up any room she walked in to with her beautiful smile and amazing personality.”

James adds, “We just want our beautiful Kacey back.” 

McKinney’s son, who was uninjured in the fall, is in the care of child protective services for now. “This 4-year-old boy watched it all happen,” she says. “He lost his mother and his father. He is the one who really hurts.”

A GoFundMe account has been set up in McKinney’s honor.

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