HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Family members say Jayla Monet Heaven was a light for the Hartford community. She was the type to show up whenever someone needed her.
“She always had a smile on her face, she always was happy, she always happy, she was always positive, outspoken, glowing. She was her name, heavenly,” said Jacqueline Gaston Thomas, Heaven’s cousin.
Heaven was just 22 when her life ended. Her family spoke of her cooking and her potential at a vigil Thursday evening.
“She did everything, she was so versatile, she was so flexible. She did it all, there was nothing Jayla couldn’t do. Somebody cut the life short of somebody who could have been anything she wanted to be.”
Police responded to a home on Shultas Place in the early hours of July 4. During a house party, police say a fight broke out and someone brought a gun. Heaven and another man were caught in the crossfire.
Heaven was taken to the hospital where she died from her injuries. Police believe she was not the intended target.
She would’ve celebrated her 23rd birthday in two weeks.
“We were just excited to go ziplining and now we have to plan my sister’s funeral,” said Ahsile Fearon, Heaven’s older sister.
Officials believe dozens of people were at the party that might have valuable information. The family is pleading for those who know something to come forward.
“Because if it was you, that’s what you would want and that’s what all we would want,” said Thomas.
The second victim, a man in his 20s, suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot wound. His name has not been released.
Hartford police are asking that anyone with information or video from the party call the Hartford Police Department at their Tip Line (860) 722-TIPS (8477).