School mourns 6-year-old shot and killed

August 8, 2011 (CHICAGO)

The young girl was shot to death as she slept inside a family member's home, kicking the school year off to a violent start.

"It's a loss for our family here at Libby. We're very connected. The only thing that we can do is really rally around our children," teacher Roshonda Booker said.

Instead of a welcome sign Monday, the school marquis read, "In loving memory of Arianna Gibson. Libby misses you!" Gibson would have started first grade, but she was shot and killed over the weekend.

"She wanted to get her hair done, and oh my God, she was just saying she was frantic to go to school," said cousin Lakesha Williams.

Early Sunday morning, a gunman walked up to the front porch and began firing into the window of her aunt's Englewood home at 74th Street and Sangamon. Gibson had spent the night after a block party. She was asleep on this couch when she was shot twice. Two other teenagers were wounded, including Arianna's 17-year-old cousin Stacy Jones, and a 17-year-old boy. Both are expected to recover.

Meanwhile, parents at Libby Elementary are trying to figure out what to tell their children.

"We have to teach our childrena bout violence in the hood before we can teach them about ABCs. We've got to teach them to duck, run, get out of the way. It's a mess out here," parent Isma-il Allen said.

The year started Monday for thousands of Chicago Public School Track E schools, which run a year- round schedule. CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard rang the ceremonial bell Monday morning, addressing the Arianna Gibson tragedy afterwards.

"It's hard to fathom what a parent is going through. I have a 10-year-old heading into the fifth grade and clearly remember when she was 6. It's hard to explain how something like this could happen," he said.

Grief counselors were on hand at Libby Elementary Monday to assist students.

Chicago police have made no arrests, but they did say they were questioning a person of interest Monday and investigating the motive. Some family members say they believe the shooting teed from a dispute in the neighborhood that did not involve the child, but that information is vague.

Arianna Gibson's family has established an account in her name at the TCF Bank at 87 W. 87th St. to help pay for her funeral costs. Donations can be made by calling 800-823-5363.

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