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The 25-year-old Lawrence woman who was fatally shot Sunday night had survived a prior close call in 2014, when she threw herself in front of a moving vehicle to protect her children, friends said.

Law enforcement officials on Monday identified the slain mother as Mindy T. Tran, 25.

She was the sole occupant of a car that crashed into a parked vehicle on Hillside Avenue in Lawrence shortly before 7 p.m. Sunday, Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office said in a statement.

“As officers attempted to render aid to the victim they discovered that she has sustained several gunshot wounds,” the release said. “She was transported to Lawrence General Hospital where she was pronounced deceased.”


Prosecutors did not disclose information about a motive for the slaying or any possible suspects.

“This matter remains under investigation by the Essex District Attorney’s Office, the Essex State Police Detective Unit, Lawrence Police,” the statement said. “No arrests have been made. It is a fluid and active investigation and therefore, it is premature and speculative to comment on the facts and circumstances of the shooting.”

In tributes posted on social media, friends of Tran, who also went by the name Sydney Chang, said she was the mother of young children.

“U had such a big heart it’s ... crazy how this city works,” one friend wrote on Facebook. “now these three beautiful little girls are left without a mommie and no one knows how that feels.”

Another mourner noted that Chang had survived getting run over by a car in 2014 in a selfless effort to protect her twins.

“First you get ran over by your car saving your twin daughters lives in 2014 and now the ending of 2017 they take you from me?” the grieving friend wrote on Facebook.

Santander Bank had praised Chang for her efforts in the 2014 crash and pledged at the time to provide financial support during her recovery.


“Mindy selflessly risked her own life to save her twin two-year-old daughters by throwing herself under her rolling car, as a human speed bump, preventing it from being hit by heavy oncoming traffic,” the bank said in a 2014 statement. “Mindy’s act of bravery severely injured her legs.”

The Globe reported in 2014 that Tran’s twin girls were buckled into their car seats at the time of the harrowing incident; the car was running and Tran was standing next to it finishing a phone call. She tried to stop the car when it began rolling and ended up trapped beneath it for an hour before being freed.

Mayor Dan Rivera had suggested Sunday night that the slaying may have been drug-related, according to WBZ-TV.

“I think if we can get less and less people needing to buy drugs and less people selling drugs and less availability of illegal weapons, I think we’d be better off, we wouldn’t be having things like this happen in the city,” Rivera told the station.

The mayor’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

A friend of Tran’s who posted a Facebook remembrance adamantly denied that she sold drugs.

“Why shoot and kill someone you know has kids especially a female,” the friend wrote. “ ... Why man. I don’t understand. I really don’t On top of that she [wasn’t] a drug dealer & she wasn’t a gang member so stop assuming.”


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.