Toya Wright couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
“I got a call from my sister-in-law and she was like, ‘Your brothers just got shot,'” recalls Wright, who was hosting a party in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at the time of the call. “The music was loud and I’m [thinking], this can’t be real.”
Wright’s brothers Ryan “Rudy” Johnson, 24, and Joshua “Fish” Johnson, 31, were discovered shot to death inside a car in New Orleans’ seventh ward on July 31, according to police.
“We have not publicly identified a suspect or suspects in the case at this time,” police spokesman Tyler Gamble tells PEOPLE. “The investigation is ongoing.”
On the night of the shooting, Wright, 32, tells PEOPLE she started calling her relatives but no one would pick up the phone. “I guess they didn’t want to tell me what was really going on,” she says.
Eventually, she spoke to her sister-in-law again, who told Wright that her brothers were still inside the car, the crime scene was cordoned off and no one was allowed near the vehicle.
“When she said that,” Wright explains, “I just knew.”
Wright, who is the ex-wife of Lil Wayne and shares 17-year-old daughter Reginae Carter with the rapper, drove to New Orleans to join her family.
“It was the worst news ever,” she says. “Murders happen every day and this is another dark night in New Orleans. You hear about stories like this all the time, but it doesn’t really hit you until you get that call. It hits so close to home.”
The New York Times best-selling author has been trying to stay busy since she buried her brothers on Aug. 5. She appears on WeTV’s Marriage Boot Camp and is preparing to release a memoir next month, titled In My Own Words.
Although recent events have made life overwhelming at times, Wright is trying to stay strong.
“I’m praying day and night because it hurts,” she says. “I really understand what it means to have a hole in your heart.”
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