Family shows strength, faith as they speak of Milan Arriola's death

Family shows strength, faith as they speak of Milan Arriola's death

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - At only 20 years old, Milan Arriola should have had a lifetime of hopes and dreams ahead of her. Instead, New Orleans police said she was fatally wounded by while riding in a car in Gentilly Friday evening.

To know Milan Arriola was to know her smile, her love for life, and her bond with her family.

“I prayed for Milan, I prayed for her. I was raised up in a house with five brothers and a daddy, and I never been around women, girls, so I knew the kind of relationship that I wanted with my daughter,” said her mother, NOPD Officer Imani Ruffins.

She called her daughter her best friend.
"[On] July 3, God gained an angel,” said Arriola’s father, NOFD Capt. Roy Arriola.
They refuse to focus on the alleged gunman, 20-year-old Will Reed, who is in police custody facing a second-degree murder charge. 
"She meant the world to us, she was our light, she kept everybody happy, she was the peace maker,” said Roy Arriola.
"I'm a mother, so I've stepped outside of being a police officer," Ruffins said. "So I've been the police officer for almost 18 years, and I have seen so much tragedy. I just - I never thought that my child would be a statistic, so I really, really understand now what those parents go through.”
Investigators do not believe Milan was the  target of the gunfire.
"I can honestly say that my child was not involved in anything," Ruffins said. "She did not live a questionable lifestyle, and that's why when somebody posted that bullet wasn't for her, it was for her. That's what God put in his plan for her. We may not understand why she had to die that way, but that's what he wanted. I don't know what I'm going to learn out of this, don't know why, but I accept it. I'm okay with it.”
"She was extremely intelligent, she was hardworking, she would work up to three jobs and go to school,” said Leshianne Ruffins, an aunt of the victim.
Milan was also the niece of renowned trumpeter Kermit Ruffins.
Her mother spoke of why she penned a letter to the alleged gunman which she posted on Facebook.
"I just realize that it takes so much energy to be angry, and I couldn't let him control me and what I felt," Ruffins said. "My baby was happy every single day. She was so happy.”

Milan loved beautiful clothes, as well as crawfish. And now that she is gone, a dream she spoke of having only two weeks ago is melded to her mother’s heart.

"She was so distraught, so distraught. She said she had a dream that I died. She said it was so real, and she was like, okay, I was like, okay, maybe we should sit down and discuss passwords and accounts. And she had all my stuff, she was like, 'No, no mamma. I don't want to talk about that mamma.' Because, she was like, 'because if you die, I'm definitely going to die with you.' She said, 'I cannot stay here without you.' She said, 'I'm going to die first because you have to be here to take care of Zavier.'"
And with strong cohesiveness as a family their plans include not only  funeral arrangements, but also a birthday celebration in coming weeks that Milan had so looked forward to before being killed.
"She wanted that party more than anything," her mother said. "She talked about making 21 when she was 12.”
"We're going to heal, we're going to heal together as a family,” Roy Arriola said.
Because they believe they now have an angel watching over them.

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