Louisiana Nursing Student Murdered Outside Hookah Lounge Just Days Before College Graduation

by Xara Aziz
Facebook/Ja'Diamond Jones

A New Orleans nursing student was shot and killed at a local hookah lounge, leaving a family outraged and a community in search of answers.

Ja’Diamond Jones was at Treme hookah lounge when she was gunned down. She was expected to graduate from Nunez Community College just days after her death.

Rather than celebrating, loved ones are in a state of mourning. According to police, Jones was one of two victims shot outside the lounge on North Claiborne Avenue. No arrests have been made.

Days after she was murdered, family and friends of Jones gathered at a vigil to honor her life and legacy. A sea of pink balloons was released into the sky just moments before her college’s nursing school held its pinning ceremony.

“God wanted her. God needed a smile,” said Jerome Jones, the victim’s father. “In my baby’s words, I hope she — I’m about to sound crazy — died on the first bullet. Because I know she would have fought like hell for Khaza.”

Khaza is Jones’ 2-year-old son, whose grandmother said was too young to understand that his mother has died but is aware that she is missing in his life.

“It’s just heartbreaking that this happened to her,” said Lillie Thompson. “Just because she was a young mother and she thought she couldn’t do it, that didn’t stop her. She prioritized her child. And it hurts so bad because she loved him dearly.”

During the vigil, scores of loved ones shared heartfelt messages on balloons and shared stories of the memories they were fortunate to experience with Jones.

“She was really proud of this,” said Jones. “She texted me, ‘Dad, you’ve got a nurse,’” adding that “(Ja’Diamond) never found her way into trouble. She never found her way behind a police vehicle or around a police vehicle or nothing.”

He continued: “Live y’all’s life like that. Leave it to me, I’ll cry for my baby. But don’t cry for her. She was happy. She was blessed. She was beautiful. And she was God’s gift to a lot of us.”

Thompson added that the only strength she has to carry on during this difficult time is her faith in God.

“I’m definitely relying on my faith,” she said. “If not, I wouldn’t be standing here, trust me. She didn’t deserve that. She didn’t deserve that at all. I just try and get a grasp that that really did happen to her.”

This story is developing and an investigation remains ongoing.

To learn more about how to prevent gun violence in our communities, please visit the Prevention Institute here.

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