Friends and family hold vigil to remember NC girl killed in shooting

Hailey Joyner, 11, in a photo from WNCT.

NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — Candles lit, arms linked, and hugs were shared Saturday to remember and celebrate Hailey Joyner’s life.

“She was amazing. No words to explain her. She was an awesome person,” said former classmate, Faith Holliday.

“She was a great friend and had a good personality,” friend of Hailey’s said.

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“She was always laughing and making everyone in the fifth grade smile. And she was such a good dancer and so happy spirited and just a really fun person to be around,” friend of Hailey’s, Shannon Lee said.

Hailey’s friends, family, classmates and teachers came out to Union Point Park in New Bern to share their memories after the 11-year-old girl was killed in a shooting last week.

“It didn’t matter what she was going through herself, if we looked like we were having a bad day… she’d come over and say is everything okay? Do you need a hug?” former teacher, June Currie said.

Hailey’s mother, Rebecca McNeese, said she knew how happy Hailey would be to see everyone together. And also hoped the vigil will bring light to gun awareness.

And also hoped the vigil will bring light to gun awareness. A 16-year-old boy has been charged with murder in Hailey’s death.

“There’s a lot of kids out here, they lost a good friend. So maybe that is enough to make them go hey when I get big maybe I won’t have guns that are loaded in my house,” Hailey’s mother, Rebecca McNeese said.

Vigil organizer minister Warren Kearny feels the same, “It’s senseless for this to be going on like this. And to be holding guns, you know, in the homes around small children. It’s nonsense.”

But many said that Saturday night Hailey’s presence was in the air.

“You got to look around there’s one dragonfly just following us, circling around us. And I swear to god that’s got to be Hailey from heaven,” said Currie.

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