Aaliyah Norris

Aaliyah Norris 

RUTHERFORDTON, NC (FOX Carolina) - A mobile zoo in Rutherfordton held a one-on-one event for a family who just lost their little girl to gun violence.

Aaliyah Norris was shot and killed more than a week ago.

Police have now charged Shaquille Francis with murder.

It was an unexpected shooting that took the life of 7-year-old Aaliyah Norris. Her family said they are still trying to process the tragedy.

"She was just a regular 7-year-old," said her mother, Breanna Ledbetter. "I just never thought I'd lose my 7-year-old to violence."

Ledbetter said while she's heartbroken, her main priority is her other grieving children, Aaliyah's siblings.

"My younger ones don't really know what's happening. But my 9-year-old, she don't want to sleep, when she sleeps she has to sleep in a room with me now - she's so scared," she said.

Ledbetter said Aaliyah's older sister is so devastated, she refuses to even eat.

"She'll take two bites of her food everyday and be done," she said.

The family has been going through old mementos and memories since Aaliyah lost her life last week.

"She was just a 7-year-old, we had bought her a pool a week before this happened," she said. "She loves to play with her sisters and brothers."

Friday was about taking their minds off of what happened. Ledbetter wanted her kids to take the day to just be kids.

"It's really nice that we took the time to have the family come over to spend some time with the animals to get their minds off things," said Madison Rose Toro with Jackson Farm Mobile Petting Zoo. "We enjoy doing it just to help the children."

It was a nice get away, but Ledbetter said nothing will bring her daughter back.

"You never know when your kids are going to be off the earth, you never know," she said.

Copyright 2020 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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