NEW ORLEANS -- A St. Roch grandmother is grieving not only the loss of her 5-year-old granddaughter Brandajah Smith, who accidentally shot herself in the head and killed herself this weekend, but her daughter who's been charged in connection with the death.
A little girl about Brandajah's age carefully placed a rose Monday night in a bouquet of sympathy that blossomed out of tragedy.
And we wonder, can the children possibly grasp what's happened? But the parents do. They leave condolences, candles and crosses, and try to comfort the grandmother left behind.
“I don't even know if I’m coming or going right now, but God is keeping me strong,” said Zina Smith, Brandajah’s grandmother.
Smith grieves for the people she loves most and the granddaughter who'll never grow up.
“Lovable, sweet child,” she said. “Anybody would've fell in love with her.”
And the daughter who apparently never learned.
“We're losing too many kids out here by having guns, parents having guns in the house and kids finding them and killing themselves, you know what I'm saying?” she said. “I can't deal with that.”
According to police, Laderika Smith knew her daughter was alone in the house where there was a gun – one that Brandajah accidentally turned on herself.
“My heart dropped,” she said. “She called and she said, Brandejah shot herself. She's dead.”
Originally, police said they'd charge the mother with second-degree murder, but in court Monday she was charged with cruelty to a juvenile.
Smith hopes the charges will be dropped.
“Everybody's saying she's a bad mom. she's not a bad mom. she's a marvelous, great mom,” Smith said.
Monday night, a grandmother's heart is breaking for the daughter and granddaughter she loves unconditionally.
Laderika Smith is in jail on a $20,000 bond.
The district attorney's office will review the case to determine whether they'll file any further charges.