The gunshot sounded like thunder at first, but it was enough to wake Juanita Wiggins early Thursday morning. When she looked out the window of her Sycamore Street rowhouse in South Camden, she saw someone lying on the ground.
The she heard it.
"Someone yelled my name, 'Nita, Nita.' I thought, 'Oh my god, it's Kevin,' " she said.
By the time Juanita Wiggins got outside, she saw someone running around the corner and her husband, 49-year-old Kevin Wiggins, on the sidewalk out front of the family's home, with blood seeping out around him.
Authorities say that Wiggins, a father of two, was returning home from work at 3:10 a.m. Thursday when he stumbled upon a home invasion. One of the suspects shot Wiggins once in the back. His death is the 31st homicide in Camden so far this year, not yet half over. The record number of 58 murders was set in 1995.
"It was truly a tragedy," said Capt. Richard Minardi, of the Camden County Prosecutor's Office. "Here's a guy coming home from work and he was just an innocent bystander."
Tiarra Wiggins, 21, said that her father was a former security guard at Rutgers University who owned his own cleaning service. He often left the family's house at 5 p.m. and rarely got home before 3 a.m.
"He was a strong man and a good father," she said. "He showed us that we could do whatever we wanted in life."
Tiarra Wiggins said that her father was taken to Cooper University Hospital minutes after her mother found him.
"By the time I got there, he died," she said.
When Juanita Williams returned home from a nearby funeral home Thursday afternoon with friends and family, she sat down on her front steps, next door to the house where the home invasion took place. Moments later, a neighbor walked over and handed her a large set of keys that he had found in the street. They were Kevin's.
"All he wanted to do was provide for his family," she said, clutching a folder from the funeral home with one hand while stroking her daughter's hair with the other. "Sometimes I think he worked too much."
When asked whether crime was an issue on the street, Juanita Wiggins hesitated.
"Tell him," said family friend Ken Logan, of Lumberton, Burlington County.
"It's troubled," Wiggins finally said. "It's a troubled street."
Logan said that he often encouraged Wiggins to move out of Camden, but the lifelong city resident always felt that he could protect his family from harm.
"People could always see the good in him," Logan said. "It's just senseless."
Wiggins also has a son, 18-year-old Kevin Wiggins Jr.