FORT WALTON BEACH — It was Vonda Browne's dream to travel the world.

Her mother, Betty Baker, said she spoke with her daughter just last week about her plans to board a 30-day cruise ship set for Europe.

It's a cruise her daughter will never take now, Baker said while mourning with family in her Atlanta home Monday afternoon. It's a reality that had yet to sink in.

The Fort Walton Beach Police Department discovered 44-year-old Browne shot to death inside the Captain's Quarters Apartments at 19 Chestnut Ave. early Monday morning.

Khalil Ahmad Rashad, 59 of Fort Walton Beach, is a person of interest, according to Fort Walton Beach spokesman Doug Rainer. Rashad was arrested Monday morning for possession of a firearm by a felon. He was taken to the Okaloosa County Jail for processing.

Rashad's arrest report said he used his Ruger .380-caliber handgun to "mortally wound" his domestic partner (Browne) after a physical altercation broke out inside the apartment. He admitted to being a convicted felon after officers read him his rights, the report said.

He had not been charged with homicide by late Monday afternoon.

Baker said Rashad and her daughter had been in a romantic relationship for about a year.

"She’s a nice person," she said, still talking about her daughter. "Her problem was always trying to help somebody. Some people don’t appreciate the help you’re trying to give. She was trying to help the wrong people."

Baker said she spoke with Browne at 12:30 a.m., about an hour before her death. She was upset, Baker said, about a fight she was having with her boyfriend.

The worried mother received another phone call shortly after, this time from Browne's ex-husband. The man, who still calls Baker "Mama," told her Vonda was dead.

"Right now it’s unreal, like it really hasn’t happened," Baker said. "I just talked to my child. I just can’t put it together. It’s like a dream or something." 

Browne moved to Fort Walton Beach from Atlanta about four years ago. She was working as a travel agent.

"She told me she finished her classes to be a travel agent and was moving up," Baker said about a recent conversation with her daughter. "She was a really outgoing person.

"Early on, you can see when people aren't in a relationship with the right person. You tell them that, but they don't believe it. We're just talking to detectives and trying to see what really happened. Detectives say they're working on it. We want to call the coroner's office and see what they say. They have to take her to Pensacola first, though."

The Police Department received a call at 1:50 a.m. reporting a person at the apartments had been shot.

When they arrived, it appeared that she wasn't breathing, according to preliminary reports.

Rashad was convicted of aggravated burglary nearly 40 years ago in Ohio, making him ineligible to own a firearm.

He is retired and disabled, according to his arrest report.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Fort Walton Beach Police Department at (850) 833-9546 or Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers at 850-863-TIPS, emeraldcoastcrimestoppers.com, or through the P3 Tips Mobile application.