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Louisiana police are searching for answers after a one-time child actor’s life was cut tragically short.

Jonshel Alexander, who played a supporting role in the Oscar-nominated film “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, was killed in a weekend shooting in New Orleans.

Fox Searchlight Pictures Presents "Beasts of the Southern Wild" - New Orleans Premiere After Party

Source: Skip Bolen / Getty

Police sources told NBC News that Jonshel and a man were shot inside a vehicle Saturday at around 9:55 p.m. Jonshel was pronounced dead at the scene. The man, whose name was not released, drove to a hospital for treatment.

Jonshel is survived by a daughter, 1-year-old De-vynne Robinson.

“She brought life to everything,” her mother, Shelly Alexander, told Tuesday. “Jonshel was feisty, jazzy, spoiled. It was her way or no way. Jonshel was like, ‘It’s going to be me.'”

Prior to her passing, the actor charmed “Beasts of the Southern Wild” filmmakers, who auditioned more than 4,000 local actors for the lead roles in the film. Joshnel landed the role of Joy Strong.

“She was like, ‘I’m going to be in this movie,'” her mother told “They fell in love with Jonshel.”

Alexander was too old to play the lead role of Hushpuppy, which went to 6-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis. But Director Benh Zeitlin said he was captivated by Alexander. He described her as an “absolute one-of-a-kind, unforgettable, force-of-nature human being” and cast her in the supporting role.


“Beasts of the Southern Wild,” told the story of a  poor Louisiana bayou community struggling for survival and won Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Police ask that anyone with information call homicide detective Brittany Kimbrough at (504) 658-5300 or call Crimestoppers of Greater New Orleans Inc. anonymously at (504) 822-1111 or (877) 903-7867.


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