The heartbroken family of an exotic dancer killed in an execution-style slaying have only now found out about her secondary source of income.
Imani Armstrong was gunned down in the Gramercy Park neighbourhood of New York earlier this week.
Now, after her death, her family have made discoveries about her difficult double life.
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The 25-year-old was executed by a masked gunman after she left her job at a popular pancake restaurant on Thursday morning.
Speaking to the New York Post, her devastated aunt Chanda Armstrong-Headen, said: “To whoever did this, all I can say is God have mercy on your soul.
“The thing is we are hurt but we do have to forgive. Hurt people hurt people so this person is hurt.
“The one that is gonna judge them is God and when God judges you, it’s the worse judgment,” she added. “God said vengeance is mine so I’ll leave it up to God.”
Imani moved from Virginia to New York to be with her future wife around three years ago. Her aunt said that contact with her family had been minimal since then.
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But the harrowing news she had been shot wasn't the only thing they found out when they were contacted by authorities.
They also discovered she had been spending time living in a shelter for victims of domestic abuse and had been working as a dancer.
“She probably didn’t tell us because she knew we would have taken some type of action. We just found out,” her 50-year-old aunt said.
“All this was going on and no one knew.”
She had danced under the name "Red" at an unnamed strip club and by the time she was killed had split from her wife and had two children living in foster care.
Armstrong-Headen said: “She knew she could always come back here. I don’t know if it was pride or wanting to do it on her own that stopped her.
“We don’t blame, we don’t judge, we don’t knock you. That’s not the type of family we are. You went out of state, it didn’t work, you come back home. We are going to help you. It’s sad she didn’t reach out.”
Amstrong had nine aunts and uncles, of which Armstrong-Headen is the oldest – she had had custody of one of her children for a time, seven-year-old Lilliana.
“I pray that no one has told the children, especially ‘Lilly.’ I want the family to tell them first.
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“Lilly was really, really close to her. We’d know how to talk to her. She might need counselling. We’d be able to get her the help she needs to process it.”
She continued: “[Armstrong] didn’t say what was going on in her life because the family disapproved of that girl so she kind of kept us out of her life at that point.
“We didn’t know she was dancing. We are kind of a religious family so we may not have approved of it but we would not have judged her for it.”
Footage seen by sources of the New York Post said it showed her assailant waiting for her across the street before running up behind her and firing a shot – still at large they then ran off.
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