Nevada County shooting victim remembered as ‘ball of happiness’ |

Nevada County shooting victim remembered as ‘ball of happiness’

Shanta Olsen
Courtesy photo

Shanta Olsen was always there for those who needed her, whether she was offering a shoulder to cry on, a home-cooked meal or even a quick “miss your face” text.

So as her friends and family gather Tuesday, Dec. 1, for her funeral, they say they continue to grapple with her loss, as well as the sequence of events that led to her death.

Olson was taken off life support Nov. 13, nearly a week after she was shot in the head during a confrontation that authorities say ensued when a marijuana deal went bad.

Six men have been charged in connection with the Nov. 7 shooting.

“It’s so surreal. It’s so devastating,” said Lucy Lowrance, who considered the 36-year-old Olsen her best friend,

“She was a beautiful human being,” Lowrance said. “She was so generous and kind. … She just wanted the best for everyone.”

For Carlos Alejandro, the service at Chapel of the Angels will be a chance to connect with the people Olsen loved, and to share stories of the little sister he called “literally the glue” that tied her siblings together.

Both Alejandro and Lowrance shared stories of Olsen in the hope that she would be remembered for “so much more” than her “senseless” death.

Olsen, said Alejandro, was the only one in his family who would take the time to tell him she was proud of him.

“She was always a cheerleader for all of us,” he said. “She was nothing short of amazing — a short little ball of happiness. … Out of the blue, she would text me, ‘I miss your face,’ That was her thing to say.”

Olsen and Alejandro hadn’t seen each other in person since last year, at their mother’s funeral. But he said they had planned to spend their next birthday — which fall on the same date — together.

“That was the last time we talked,” he said, his voice breaking as he described speaking to Olsen on the phone while she was on life support, as a nurse held the phone up to her ear.

“I thought I would have her around for a long time,” Alejandro said, adding that he has carefully preserved all her texts and phone messages.

Lowrance admitted that when she first met Olsen in 2011, she didn’t like her at all.

That all changed last year, when Lowrance reached out after the death of Olsen’s mother. The two women became close, with Olsen opening up to Lowrance about her past.

“You could always go to her for anything,” Lowrance said, reminiscing about one instance when Olsen made her a candlelight Italian dinner to cheer her up. “She was just that kind of friend.”

Both Lowrance and Alejandro expressed anger over the fact that the men facing charges in connection with Olsen’s death are all out on bond, other than the alleged shooter.

“I’m (angry) that they got to go home, I’m angry at the legal system,” Alejandro said. “They got to have Thanksgiving with their families, while she didn’t. We had an empty seat at our table.”

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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