Jonshel Alexander, who starred in the film Beasts of the Southern Wild was shot and killed on Saturday (Nov. 27) in her native New Orleans. According to Nola.com, Alexander and an unidentified man were shot in a vehicle where she was declared dead at the scene by paramedics. The man drove himself to the hospital. Investigators said they have located a maroon pick-up truck as a vehicle of interest. The actress was 22-years-old.
“She brought life to everything,” said her mother Shelly Alexander. “Jonshel was feisty, jazzy, spoiled. It was her way or no way. Jonshel was like, ‘It’s going to be me.'”
In Beasts Of A Southern Wild, Alexander played Joy Strong, a character whose depiction Director Benh Zeitlin says was greatly influenced by the talent of the then-child actress.
“We incorporated a part into the film that was very much inspired by her,” Zeitlin said. He added, “She was a really bright burning light.”
Alexander was the youngest of three children, according to Nola.com. She participated in cheerleading and dance classes, and enrolled in modeling and acting schools and after graduating from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Charter High School. She is survived by a 1-year-old daughter, De-vynne Robinson.
Her former co-star Dwight Henry shared with FOX 8 the impact of her violent death. He and Alexander were familiar before the film.
“She lit up the screen, and it hurts me. I’m telling you it hurts me to my heart… I’ve been crying all night,” Henry said. “Special moments… Memories that I’ll never forget you know because certain things you can forget memories, but you know things like this when you have pictures of her man… I’m always looking at this and remember Jonshel, you know. I remember this thing this one scene here like it was yesterday… She was so special.”
Potential witnesses are asked to contact Brittany Kimbrough at (504) 658-5300 or call Crimestoppers of Greater New Orleans Inc. anonymously at (504) 822-1111 or (877) 903-7867.