‘Tough pill to swallow’: Community, family honors 7-year-old girl killed in ‘accidental’ shooting in Gastonia

‘Tough pill to swallow’: Community, family honors 7-year-old girl killed in ‘accidental’ shooting by uncle in Gastonia

GASTONIA, N.C. (WBTV) - Friends and family called her “Gabby.”

Gabrielle Lanail Jones-Lewis was her full name.

She was described as a “sweet and loving” child who lit up the lives of everyone she met.

Tears, hugs and stories were shared Sunday for the young girl who died after she was shot on April 13 in Gastonia.

Mothers of Murdered Offspring hosted a candlelight service in honor of Gabby at Camp Greene Park in Charlotte.

WBTV NEWS NOW: Candlelight vigil held for 7-year-old girl killed in Gastonia

Dozens showed up to show their support.

Her family spoke about the short, but impactful life Gabby made on them.

“She was so sweet,” Gabby’s great uncle said. “You could look her in the eyes and it would make your day.”

Emotions were flowing and candles were lit and raised.

Though words were tough to express, her family members delivered some heartfelt words.

Her great aunt said the day before she died, Gabby asked “what is Heaven like?”

“This is a hard pill to swallow,” Gabby’s great aunt said. “It tells me an angel whispered to her that she is going to Heaven. That is why I have peace. I hope to see her there one day.”

Family members wore matching shirts with a photo of Gabby.

Seven family members released seven balloons into the air, representing Gabby’s age.

Gabby was reportedly shot and killed by her uncle at a home in Gastonia.

She was shot on Ware Avenue just after 7 p.m. on April 13. Search warrants state that it was an accidental shooting.

One day after the shooting police said they arrested 30-year-old Jeremy Quintrel Lewis of Charlotte. He was originally charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill or inflicting serious injury, discharging a weapon into an occupied property causing serious bodily injury and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Police say that Lewis was Gabrielle’s uncle and was shooting a rap music video at the home. Lewis and the child’s father, Jarrell Lewis are brothers.

Documents state that multiple fake guns and real guns were being used for the music video.

Police say that during the course of filming, Lewis was handed a gun by the homeowner and that he fired it and a bullet flew through the wall hitting the child.

Gastonia police confirmed on Tuesday that Lewis was also charged with second-degree murder after the child died.

7-year-old died after shooting in Gastonia

Search warrants state that Jarrell Lewis called 911 and mentioned he had recorded the shooting. Police tried to take their phones at the time Jeremy Lewis was arrested. Two iPhones were collected by police for evidence.

Gastonia Pastor Rodney Freeman told WBTV Saturday there needs to be more accountability in each community.

“These are young children that we should be protecting that’s at home, playing, riding with parents, and somehow or another an irresponsible gun carrier comes and fires a shot and shoots an innocent child,” Freeman said.

Copyright 2021 WBTV. All rights reserved.