Texas Girl, 17, with 'Contagious Smile' Is Fatally Shot Months Before High School Graduation

Jeff Truesdell
·2 min read

GoFundMe Chineye Jones

Friends say high school senior Chineye Jones dreamed big before a shooting ended her life.

The 17-year-old, who was on track to graduate in May from Frisco High School, in Frisco, Texas, "was vibrant, with this loving contagious smile," her friends Trinity Brumfield and Diamond LaBiche posted on a GoFundMe page. "She loved animals and art. She was a poet in secret, still her artistic ability shined through in her drawings and her words. She aspired to open many businesses; clothing lines and hotels, movie theatre etc."

On Friday night, police say Jones died after a shooting by an apparent acquaintance that also left an unnamed adult male hospitalized.

A suspected gunman, 19-year-old Artis Ray Martin, of Frisco, was arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, according to a police news release. They described the shooting as "an isolated incident," and said they believed the accused assailant and victims knew each other.

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Martin is being held at the Collin County Detention Facility on $150,000 bond. An attorney for him was not immediately identified.

In a separate GoFundMe page to which LaBiche directed donors who want to help the family with memorial expenses, Jones' mother, Racquel Wooten, wrote, "My daughter Chineye was a beautiful smart talented busy child" gunned down a few months shy of her 18th birthday.

In a Facebook tribute to her friend, LaBiche wrote: "In my eyes you were perfect. The way your eyes light up when your imagination's going. You were a visionary. You could've ruled the world, no doubt. Your heart was so big, I remember we joked about you having two."

She added: "You were a giver. A provider a protector. We spent damn near everyday together. The memories we have I cherish as a lifeline... You were a listener and a friend. You were the arms I searched for when all of me was falling apart... I'm trying to hold all of the pieces now."

Her friend "was trying to leave harm's way" when she "was senselessly, maliciously, and quickly taken from us," LaBriche and Brumfield wrote on GoFundMe.

Police said they found Jones suffering from multiple gunshot wounds after responding to the call about 7:25 p.m. Friday at an apartment complex. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Her friends wrote: "Her existence validated the idea anything is possible."