Family of Slain Student Says She Would Have Wanted Gun Debate to Help Solve 'Senseless Shootings'

The family of Alaina Housley, who was the niece of actress Tamera Mowry-Housley, released a statement on Thursday night

Alaina Housley‘s family is speaking out after their daughter was killed in a mass shooting on Wednesday night.

Issuing a statement to the Pepperdine University Graphic, where she was a student, her family said the 18-year-old freshman would have wanted a debate about gun control in the wake of her murder to help prevent another “senseless” tragedy.

“Words can’t describe our grief over losing our daughter, Alaina,” the family’s statement began. “She was everything we could hope for in a child: kind, smart, beautiful and respectful.”

“She continued the family’s tradition of attending Pepperdine University. She was so happy to be a Wave. We are grateful to the Pepperdine community for their support during this difficult time,” the family continued.

“We want to honor Alaina by focusing on how she lived her life. She would have enjoyed the public debate that is certain to happen after this tragedy. But she would have insisted that it be respectful with an eye toward solving these senseless shootings.”

“We send our condolences to the family and friends of the other victims. We especially thank Sgt. Ron Helus’ family for their sacrifice,” the family added.

Housley was with her friends at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks during its weekly “College Country Night” on Wednesday when a gunman entered and started firing, killing 12.

Alaina Housley Instagram

The Pepperdine University student is the niece of actress Tamera Mowry-Housley and her husband, Adam Housley.

“Our hearts are broken. We just learned that our niece Alaina was one of the victims of last night’s shooting at Borderline bar in Thousand Oaks,” the couple said in a statement to PEOPLE.

“Alaina was an incredible young woman with so much life ahead of her and we are devastated that her life was cut short in this manner,” the statement adds. “We thank everyone for your prayers and ask for privacy at this time.”

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Late Wednesday evening, The Real co-host, 40, shared a heartfelt tribute to the Pepperdine University student from Napa, California.

“Alaina. My sweet, sweet Alaina. My heart breaks. I’m still in disbelief. It’s not fair how you were taken and how soon you were taken from us,” Mowry-Housley wrote on Instagram Thursday.

“I was blessed to know you ever since you were 5. You stole my heart. I will miss our inside jokes, us serenading at the piano,” the mother of two continued. “Thank you for being patient with me learning how to braid your hair, and I will never forget our duet singing the national anthem at Napa’s soccer game.”

The Sister, Sister actress added, “I love you. I love you. I love you. You are gonna make one gorgeous angel. My heart and prayers are with every victim of this tragedy.”

RELATED VIDEO: Emotional Father Reveals His Son Was Among the at Least 12 Killed at the Borderline

According to the Los Angeles Times, Adam tried to look for his niece at the Los Robles Regional Medical Center around 3:30 a.m. on Thursday but was turned away because the hospital was on lockdown.

Tamera’s talk show also released a statement expressing condolences. “The Real is heartbroken for the victims of the senseless tragedy in Thousand Oaks, which included Alaina Housley, the niece of Tamera and Adam Housley,” they said.

“We send prayers and strength to all the victims’ families and their community as well as our gratitude to the first responders,” they continued. “We send all our love and our deepest condolences to the Housleys, our family, during this difficult time.”

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