Friends of slain 11-year-old speak out against N.O. violence

New Orleans, La. - For several young friends of 11-year-old Arabian Gayles, the feelings of loss and disbelief are overwhelming.

Early Monday morning, Gayles was shot to death while rocking her 1-year-old baby cousin inside a home in the Carrollton area.

"I think it's pitiful," said Gayles' 13-year-old friend, Samaria Jackson.

Armani Hooks, also 13, said she's devastated.

"I feel horrible because (Arabian) was one of my closest friends, and I didn't think anything was gonna happen to her and it just hurt me," Hooks said. "Either way, nobody deserves that at all. So, when I found out about it, I was like, I'm dreaming, this can't be real. This can't be it. And I kept crying, and it's hard."

NOPD investigators believe multiple gunmen unleashed the hail of bullets that also wounded Gayles' 11-year-old cousin, who was sleeping in another room, as well as a 38-year-old man, who was sitting on the front porch.

The 1-year-old baby in Gayles' arms wasn't injured.

However, Gayles -- who friends say had a vibrant, fun personality -- was hit multiple times.

"She was nice. She was cool to be around," Jackson said.

"She was very cool, funny. She was like a little comedian. She was like my little twin," Hooks said. "She was a good person to be around. She'd tell us the truth, how, she'd tell us what we'd do wrong, what we don't do wrong. And we was just like sisters from another mother."

But Gayles' death marks the second time in just a few days that a young life in the city has been cut short by violence.

"I mean, you're taking somebody's life from them and she didn't even experience to be an adult, you know, go to college, you know, like she didn't even make it to see her birthday and it was just wrong," Hooks said.

Loved ones and friends plan to gather in Gayles' memory Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the 1300 block of General Ogden near the scene of the triple shooting.