Mourners of slain nursing student take offense to Mayor Cantrell’s comments on shooting

Published: May. 15, 2023 at 9:20 PM CDT|Updated: May. 16, 2023 at 9:00 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Those mourning a Treme shooting victim are taking offense to comments made by Mayor LaToya Cantrell about the incident.

They say despite an insinuation otherwise by the mayor last Friday, the slain woman had no involvement in criminal activity.

Ja’Diamond Jones was one of two women fatally shot at a hookah lounge on North Claiborne Avenue.

“If you know Ja’Diamond, you know that she’s a very positive person,” said her coworker and friend Korri Hankton. “She’s not into anything negative, she focused on her 2-year-old son. She’s focused on graduating and she’s also one of the best educators I’ve ever worked with.”

Hankton says Mayor Cantrell implied Jones was not an innocent victim.

“None of these acts are random at all. We have to understand that women also play a role in violent activity in our city,” Cantrell said at a press conference last Friday. “They will remain under active investigation.”

Hankton said Jones should not have been characterized in such a manner.

“This young lady was not a young lady that was involved in any type of drama. That wasn’t her M.O,” he said. “The least we can do is have some integrity and respect, and understand what we say can affect the family and friends of people who are watching.”

Hankton said he’s concerned that children mentored by Jones will be left with an inaccurate impression.

“They come in and watch this young lady come in, day in and day out, be a great person and they have to watch the mayor making comments like that about a great person,” he said.

Hankton said he wants Jones to be remembered as a compassionate mother who had goals and plans for her future.

“She was very detailed about her own child, her own son,” Hankton said. “She just wanted to create a great life for him. That being said, that was her motivation.”

Nunez Community College in Chalmette wrote that Jones was beloved by fellow students and faculty in the Practical Nursing program and that her absence would be deeply felt.

“It’s really tough to see this all play out the way it played out,” Hankton said. “But even more sad that our mayor did not go through research on the people and the situation to figure out the appropriate things to say.”

Fox 8 asked the mayor’s office for a response to Hankton’s complaint, but a City Hall spokesman only reissued a previous written statement from Cantrell lamenting overall gun violence in the city.

“These violent attacks on women cannot further stand. We must learn to respect and value one another’s lives if we want to create a safer and more welcoming New Orleans for everyone,” the statement said in part.

Of the first 101 homicide victims this year in New Orleans, 12 have been female, ranging in age from 14 to 57 years old, according to the Metropolitan Crime Commission.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Click Here to report it. Please include the headline.