MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The family of a Homestead girl who died Tuesday in an accidental shooting on a school bus is devastated by their loss.
The grief stricken mother of 13-year old Lourdes Guzman DeJesus called her daughter an angel and a smart, happy girl who loved her siblings.
“She was just the most wonderful girl in the whole wide world she was,” said Adys DeJesus.
Wednesday she attended a memorial at the Palm Glades Preparatory Academy where her daughter’s classmates attached balloons to a fence in her memory.
DeJesus said Lourdes, who everyone called “Jina,” was more than just her daughter.
“Lourdes was the most wonderful thing that God gave me. She was very colorful. She was smart and she was nice. Everyone loved her so much,” said DeJesus. “She was so responsible and loving, and good at her school. She wanted to be a lawyer, she was my best friend, she was my partner.”
Fifteen year old Jordyn Alexander Howe, who is a student at Somerset Academy Silver Palms, has been charged as a juvenile in Guzman DeJesus’ death. Howe reportedly told investigators that he brought a loaded .40 caliber handgun on a school and even passed it around the bus before it went off and struck Guzman DeJesus in the neck.
Guzman DeJesus was airlifted to Miami Children’s Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Howe has been charged with manslaughter and is being held a juvenile detention facility.
DeJesus said other daughter was also on the bus.
“She was just screaming Jina’s hurt. She was just screaming ‘Mommy, it’s Jina,” said DeJesus. “She, who is just seven years old, said something is not right about my sister and wanted to know what was happening.”
DeJesus said she just can’t understand why anyone would bring a loaded gun on a bus carrying children.
“How did this happen? How did he have this gun on him? Why did no one notice,” said DeJesus. “I don’t know, (but) want some answers.”
“They took an angel from us and they left a seven year old girl who could not do anything for her older sister,” said Guzman-DeJesus’ stepfather Rafael Santos. “A 15-year old boy armed with a gun. Where are the parents? Where is the supervision?”
DeJesus said in her grief, this is also compassion.
“Yes, I forgive him (Howe) but he must pay for what he did,” said DeJesus.
Students at Palm Glades Preparatory Academy said the death of their classmate brought home that sometimes life is not fair.
“One of my friends told me that she died and I just went crazy,” said Daniel La Rosa, a 7th grader.
La Rosa said Guzman DeJesus was popular and she meant a lot to him.
“She was a really nice girl, everybody liked her,” said La Rosa. “I knew a lot of things about her, she was like a sister.”
Guzman DeJesus’ friends gathered Tuesday night to share stories about her.
“She was just the nicest, sweetest person to be around and she made the most out of life,” said Isabel Paillere.
They found little comfort in knowing the shooting was deemed accidental.
“Accident or not, no one should be bringing guns to school buses, schools, to public places period,” said Ariel Paillere. “I’m sorry, even if it was an accident, if that bullet wasn’t for her, it could’ve been for someone else.”
DeJesus, Santos and Jina’s friends will gather this Saturday for a candle light vigil.