PONTIAC. Mich. (FOX 2) - Family and friends gathered on Sunday to honor the 7-year-old girl who was fatally shot in Pontiac.
"She was very motivated and always worked hard to do all of her school work, very sweet… very beautiful… she's going to be missed by all the students."
Ariah Jackson was a first-grader at Whitman Elementary School in Pontiac. She had just been picked up from school when she was tragically shot and killed during a drive-by shooting in front of her home on March 18.
"So you know when I make my rounds, as I open the door she ran and jumped in my arms and said ‘Ms. Dr. Powell!’ I said what is it Ariah? She said ‘I love you with all my heart’ and I said I love you too," said Dr. Leetha Powell, the principal at Whitman Elementary School.
Family and friends gathered 9 days after the tragic shooting to honor her just a few feet away from where she was gunned down.
"Bless these your people who have come out to share today to let everybody know that together we stand… no more of this... enough is enough."
The suspected gunman, 19-year-old Justin Rouser, was arrested and charged in connection with the death of the Ariah. Police are still looking for the suspected getaway driver, 17-year-old Jujuan McDonald.
Ariah's loved ones remember her for the light she was and reflected on how she made the world a better place.
"You just couldn't help but notice her. Everywhere she was she literally had a smile even with her little mask you could see it. She just lit up the school," said Tara Chaney, a teacher at Whitman Elementary School.
"A young 1st grader Kenny said to me ‘So Ms. Dr. Powell’ and I said ‘yes’ he said ‘So who’s going to tie my shoe now? Cause her used to tie my shoe every day and she not here right now', so I said starting tomorrow we’re going to learn how to tie your shoe together," Dr. Powell said.