Hartford’s unwitting shooting victim remembers being loving and fun-loving; mother asks for the violence to stop


HARTFORD – Keosha Thomas asked one thing Thursday as she planned the funeral of her 22-year-old daughter who was fatally shot when bullets flew during a fighting at a 4th of July party.

She demanded that the violence stop.

“I just want everyone to please stop. Stop blaming. Stop the violence. Stop gun violence. Because they’re just doing it for fun now. Everyone now takes it so lightly, everyone has a gun,” she said.

Police said Jayla Heaven was not the intended target when gunfire erupted as tempers flared hours before dawn. Nor was there a second person in their twenties who survived their injuries.

Lt. Aaron Boisvert told reporters on Tuesday that he would like the dozens of people who saw the shooting to speak to investigators. More than 100 people were at the party outside the house in Shultas Place, he said.

Thomas said she, too, wanted to see the case solved. She is tired of seeing people using weapons in a cavalier way. She once saw someone shoot in the air while waiting to enter a club in Hartford for people to flee and shorten the queue, she said.

“It happened when I was out. They shoot in the air, and it makes people run,” Thomas said.

In other cases, such as the double shootings on Monday and a triple homicide fathers day, weapons are used to settle disputes. The three people who died in the June 19 shooting had been involved in an argument over a small dog, according to a police report.

Thomas also said she wanted people to stop pointing fingers. Some blame people not believed to have been involved in Monday’s shooting, she said.

“It’s just the blame. I wish everyone could stop,” Thomas said. “Stop this violence. I don’t want to see anyone get hurt. »

Neither did his daughter, apparently.

A hug and a dancer who loved to cook

Thomas described Heaven as a loving, fun, outgoing girl who always hugged people. A graduate of East Hartford High School, she left behind two sisters and a brother.

“She was so loved. She loved me, her mother, to pieces,” Thomas said. “We had a close relationship. Always smiling, adorable. Care.”

Heaven loved to dance and party no matter the hour, she said. That’s why she was at the reggae party when the fatal shooting happened, Thomas said.

Although she loved to have fun, Heaven was a hard worker, her mother said. Along with being a home health aide, she started a food preparation and delivery service called “Heavenly Eats.”

“She loved to cook,” her mother said.

Heaven also enjoyed the zip line the first time she tried it with her mother and aunt, Thomas said, and the trio planned to do it again: Thomas and his sister were going to take Heaven for her birthday on July 19.

She would have been 23 years old.

Anyone with information about this or any other shooting is asked to call the Hartford Police Department’s Information Line, 860-722-8477 (TIPS).

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