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Mother of Gilbert teen shot and killed shares daughter's legacy

Rachel and mom
Posted at 10:02 PM, Jun 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-30 10:58:01-04

GILBERT, AZ  — Almost a month has passed since Rachel Hansen, 19, was shot at her apartment and later died at the hospital. Still no suspect has been identified.

For the first time since her death, Rachel’s mother, Kim, spoke to ABC15 about Rachel’s childhood, the night of the shooting, and the legacy her young daughter leaves behind.

In the backyard of the Hansen Ranch in Gilbert, things seem to be filled with memories as well as the livestock, pecking near the horse stables.

“She'd walk the horse out here,” said Kim walking along the fence line.

Between biological kids, those they've adopted, and foster kids, Kim said she'd have anywhere between nine and 15 kids at the house.

The active household is something she wouldn’t trade for the world.

"We loved every minute of it,” she said.

Earlier this month, the house got a little quieter when one of Kim's daughters, Rachel, was shot at her apartment just two days after she moved in.

Kim says she was out of state visiting grandchildren when she got a text from her husband to get to a place away from others to share the news that two Gilbert Police officers told him in their living room that morning.

“I was shocked,” she said.

The July 4 holiday will mark one month since Rachel was attacked in her new apartment and still no answers have been given to the Hansen family.

Gilbert Police say an unknown gunman came into her apartment near San Tan Village Parkway and Ray Road. Rachel called 911 to say she had been shot by someone she didn’t know.

She later died at the hospital, just a week short of her 20th birthday.

Kim got medical records for her daughter’s death and discovered she suffered just a single gunshot wound.

"I always felt so safe living in Gilbert. Like... I don't know how this could happen,” said Kim.

Rachel Hansen and mother

Rachel came to Kim as a foster child just before she was six years old.

Kim said Rachel’s biological mother abandoned her family when Rachel was a toddler.

Other adults looked over Rachel after her mother left and the time was described as “the dark years” — until she was brought into Kim’s life.

Kim says the lack of consistency in her developmental years created noticeable independence.

"I'd try to brush her hair and she'd say ‘I can do it myself,'” said Kim.

That independence aided what would become Rachel’s main passion and something Kim and Rachel both loved – the world of equestrians.

"She would climb up...sit on (the fence) and throw her leg over and get on (the horse) all by herself at such a young age,” said Kim.

Before her death, Rachel was preparing to ride off into the sunset of a prosperous life.

She was planning a fall wedding with her new fiancé and she was seen by those in the equestrian world as a gifted horse trainer.

Rachel Hansen and fiancee

She recently got her real estate license with plans to sell land for those with livestock.

All of it was cut short at the hands of an unknown gunman.

"It's just such a tremendous loss, she did have so much potential and so much to give the community and the world,” said Kim.

The lack of public information from police on the shooting death led some on social media to speculate Rachel’s horse that went missing is related to the investigation. Kim said police told her they’re following all leads but it’s highly unlikely the two are related.

Rachel’s horse did go missing weeks before her death but has since been recovered.

She leaves behind nine brothers and sisters, including a biological sister Kim also adopted.

A crowdfunding account has been set up in her name.

Anyone with information about what happened to Rachel Hansen in the early morning hours of June 4 near her apartment at San Tan Parkway and Ray Road in Gilbert is asked to call Gilbert Police's non-emergency at 480-503-6500.