JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jaleisa Everett had been 16 for three days when she was killed by a bullet that came through the walls of her Larchmont Drive home in a drive-by shooting Wednesday night.
Now she’ll be 16 forever.
Jaleisa’s family isn’t sure how to put the pieces back together after losing the friendly teen who they say was a mentor and role model for her young cousins, a loving daughter to both parents, and a constant peacemaker.
"She was a normal teenager, she enjoyed talking on the phone, she was a mama’s girl and a daddy’s girl, she loved everybody and she always wanted everybody to get along,” said her aunt Casey, who wanted to maintain some anonymity out of fear of whoever Jaleisa’s killer or killers might be.
While she was a normal teenager, her aunt said Jaleisa had different dreams than many girls her age, one in particular.
“She wanted to play on the football team. Football team, why would she want to play on the football team?" Casey said. "That’s how tough she was. She was tough.”
Her family told her she could do whatever she set her mind to.
Just days ago, as her birthday approached, Jaleisa’s family played a prank on her. They let her believe that she wasn’t going to get a birthday cake because she had asked for one too late. When she got to her birthday barbecue and found that it was a joke, she was excited.
“So I had bought her a cake and we were out here barbecuing, and she ate half the cake and took it in her room so couldn’t nobody else eat it,” Casey said, a smile on her face.
No one would talk to us about why Jaleisa’s house was an apparent target, though social media posts indicate that perhaps some family members knew there was danger in the air in the days leading up to the shooting.
"Whatever the problem was, whatever the situation was, it could have easily been handled. It didn’t have to lead up to this,” said Casey.
And she had a message to police and to the community as well.
“I just want it to stop... Don’t let my niece’s death go in vain," she said. "This could easily be your child. This could easily be my child. A bullet don’t have no name.”
Jackson Police Department Sgt. Roderick Holmes says there are no suspects nor is there a known motive yet, but that the investigation is active. It’s unclear, he said, if the shooting was related to a later drive by on Lindsey Drive the same night.
The candlelight vigil will be held tonight at 6:30 p.m. in front of Jaleisa’s home on Larchmont Drive.