Milan Arriola, 20, a 2012 Warren Easton Charter High School honors graduate from a well-known New Orleans family, was shot and killed Friday night in Gentilly.
Her mother is Officer Imani Ruffins with the New Orleans Police Department. Her father is Capt. Roy Arriola Jr. with the New Orleans Fire Department.
Her uncle is trumpeter Kermit Ruffins, who is Imani’s brother and one of the city’s best-known musicians.
The NOPD said Milan Arriola was riding in the front passenger seat of a bright yellow Chevrolet Camaro convertible near the intersection of Humanity and Allen streets when her side of the car was hit several times by gunfire about 8 p.m.
The car proceeded to North Broad Street and St. Bernard Avenue. EMS technicians took Arriola to a hospital, where she died.
On Saturday evening, police named Will Reed, 20, as a suspect in the killing. They did not say how they connected Reed to the crime or offer any motive or explanation for the shooting.
Officers checked Reed’s last known address but didn’t find him there, so anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact police. Homicide Detective Wayne DeLarge is in charge of the investigation and can be reached at (504) 658-5300.
Or people may call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111 and be eligible for a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to an arrest and indictment.
On Saturday, neighbors and friends shared memories of Arriola, a petite young woman who was captain of the majorette team at Warren Easton. She was known for a sunny disposition and was a serious, active student, friends said.
As the close-knit Arriola-Ruffins family prepared to gather Saturday night to mourn a young woman they thought was on her way to success, her grandfather, tears in his eyes, said he wasn’t yet able to speak about the incident.
Her aunt, Leshianne Ruffins, also was almost speechless. She had spent the day trying to coordinate out-of-town arrivals while still in deep shock, she said. “I’m so numb right now, it’s hard for me to put anything into words,” she said.
She and her niece were extremely close, Leshianne Ruffins said. “I’ll miss everything about her,” she said. “She was like my child.”
Arriola’s death came after a bloody week in which three people were gunned down in New Orleans on Thursday alone, and many people expressed renewed anger about the violence.
A friend of Arriola summed up the sentiment on Twitter: “Another beautiful young lady gone too soon. There’s no excuse, man.”
As word of the death spread Friday night and Saturday morning, dozens of people posted social-media condolences and said they were astonished to hear that Arriola was the city’s latest homicide victim.
Tuba player Phil Frazier, a longtime friend of the family, posted a note to Arriola’s mother on Facebook from Chicago, where the Rebirth Brass Band performed Friday night. “I couldn’t hardly play tonight,” he wrote.
And Bria and Brionne Steward, both 2013 Warren Easton graduates, tweeted, “Milan was beautiful inside and out. R.I.P., angel, you have your wings now.”
Her friend Antonio also posted a short note to Twitter. “R.I.P., little Milan,” he wrote. “The good really do die young.”