Joquincy "Joe" McCord is accused of fatally shooting Brittany Moore McCord and pistol-whipping her 13-year-old stepson
A single bullet killed a nurturing 33-year-old Missouri mother Tuesday evening, and investigators handling the case allege the gunman was her 27-year-old estranged husband, who is accused of running to Alabama with their 2-year-old daughter, PEOPLE confirms.
Joquincy “Joe” McCord is being held on $1.5 million bond and is charged with the murder of Brittany Moore McCord and one count of felony child abuse with serious bodily harm for allegedly pistol-whipping her 13-year-old stepson as he fled.
McCord did not enter pleas to the two charges during an appearance in court on Wednesday.
According to a statement from police, McCord turned himself over to authorities in Mobile, Alabama, three hours after the fatal encounter, but did not have the toddler when officers arrived to arrest him.
The little girl had been left with his uncle, McCord told them. In time, she was handed over to police, unharmed.
The children are now with their mother’s relatives.
Police have yet to discuss what may have motivated Tuesday’s violence.
Friends described Brittany as a loving educator who adored children.
“She was everybody’s mama,” Katie Gilbert told WLOX, noting she met McCord 10 years ago because she worked at the daycare where she sent all three of her children. “She was always quick to send us pictures of what our babies were doing at the daycare, show us all the milestones that they had made and just share those milestones with us by raising them. I would tell her that she was meant to be a teacher, she was meant to be in education and I would tell her how much I appreciated how much she loved on my boys.”
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Brittany also volunteered at her local church.
“She’s just so outgoing. Me and her just clicked,” explained Lauren Merrill, one of Brittany’s best friends. “She’s not shy and neither am I. She was like a sister that I never had.
“The whole community loved her, the whole community,” added Merrill.
A GoFundMe page has been launched to help Brittany’s children in the wake of her killing.