NEW ORLEANS - The boy at the center of an Endangered Child search early Monday was spending the night at a neighborhood friend's home when someone or some people burst into his mother's house and shot and killed her, according to the friend's father.

J.D. Ligier said 7-year-old Kevin Gibson was at his home when shots rang out nearby, killing his mother, Jade Antoinette Gibson.

Unable to find the child at the scene, officers and the family feared for his life and State Police issued a Level II Endangered Child Alert. Kevin was found safe from physical harm at Ligier's home.

"He was over at the house all day (Sunday) and he kept trying to reach his mom on my cellphone and she wasn't answering, so I was going to send him home," Ligier said. "He tried to go home and the door was locked."

As Kevin Gibson, Ligier and Ligier's children were at home they heard shots ring out around 11:30 p.m. Ligier said his son and other children thought it may have been fireworks.

"I knew there were problems," he said. "Kevin would disappear for weeks on end and we wouldn't know, are we seeing Kevin again. Does he still live here?"

Ligier thinks if Kevin had been at home when the incident occurred, he could have ended up dead, either being in the path of the killer or trying to protect his mother.

Jade Antoinette Gibson's mother, who told The New Orleans Advocate that she was en route to New Orleans to care for Kevin and a 10-month-old child who also was not at home at the time of the shooting, said the family is scared that anyone would do something like this.

Tonya Flowers, a neighbor, said she couldn't recall seeing Jade Antoinette Gibson around the neighborhood often, but she was still saddened at the news.

"I was devastated because it was a female and we never seen her in the neighborhood because I pass this way all the time."