Francheska Velez (AP Photo)
Velez, 21, of Chicago, was pregnant and preparing to return home. A friend of Velez's, Sasha Ramos, described her as a fun-loving person who wrote poetry and loved dancing.
"She was like my sister," Ramos, 21, said. "She was the most fun and happy person you could know. She never did anything wrong to anybody."
Family members said Velez had recently returned from deployment in Iraq and had sought a lifelong career in the Army.
"She was a very happy girl and sweet," said her father, Juan Guillermo Velez, his eyes red from crying. "She had the spirit of a child."
Ramos, who also served briefly in the military, couldn't reconcile that her friend was killed in this country — just after leaving a war zone.
"It makes it a lot harder," she said. "This is not something a soldier expects — to have someone in our uniform go start shooting at us."
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