NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A 12-year-old girl remains in serious condition at University Medical Center in New Orleans after she was shot and her mother and two siblings were brutally murdered in Gentilly Friday morning.
"This is horrific. It's horrible. It breaks everybody's heart," New Orleans Police Chief Michael Harrison said. "It rattles everyone."
Officers responded to 911 calls just after 4 a.m. in the 4200 block of Touro street. When investigators arrived at the Gentilly home, they found Monique Smith, 30, and her sons Justin, 10, and Jumyrin, 6, shot and killed. Smith's daughter was critically injured in the shooting.
At this time, investigators have not named a suspect nor a motive for the violent attack.
"That was innocent children in that house," Gentilly resident Sweetie Carter said. "I mean, because I live maybe three blocks down and I pass and you see the kids playing outside the house, and it's sad."
Residents in the Gentilly neighborhood said the young family moved in less than a year ago. They were stunned to find out what happened.
"She would come walk down the sidewalk right here every morning to walk her kids to the school bus. They would speak and say hello, nice kids, and the young lady was nice too," Gentilly resident Kenneth Vige said. "They wouldn't talk much. She would just say hello, good morning and go back to her home."
Monique Smith worked at the Frostop on Calhoun St. near Claiborne Ave. and Tulane University for nearly four years. The business closed Friday with a sign on the door saying it was due to a family emergency. The manager and employees of did not want to talk on camera, but they said Smith worked most recently as the head cook.
One man who works nearby said Smith will be missed and remembered.
"All I can think of is one beautiful person," said the man, who only wished to be identified as Eric. "She was a giving person and a beautiful person...That kind of sums it up about Monique. She treated everybody the same. Everybody loved her and you couldn't say nothing bad about her."
On Friday, officials with Samuel J. Green Charter school released a statement saying school administrators found it "odd" the children did not show for school, especially since the children were scheduled to receive awards for perfect attendance that afternoon. The 12-year-old in serious condition was scheduled to receive a reward for self-determination. The school released the following statement:
"When the news of this tragedy was received, we immediately deployed our crisis team, which included additional grief counselors and network support personnel. Students in grades 5th and 7th were able to meet with counselors individually as they processed the news. We will continue to provide this support for students and their families, with assistance from our trusted network partner, Communities in Schools."
"This is not just a police matter," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. "We as a city have to commit ourselves neighbor to neighbor, friend to friend, pastor to congregation. We need to really think deeply about what this means for us as a city."
At one point during the investigation, the SPCA took a small dog from the home into its custody. It did not appear as if the dog was hurt.
Police urge anyone with information about the shooting to call Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111. The reward for information leading to an arrest is $5,000.