Amira Jacques was excited about starting ”big-girl” school this fall.
To nearly everyone she met, her favorite words were, “I love you.” And her dolls were her babies.
Those were some of the memories for Mary Diogene as she spoke of Amira, her 4-year-old niece, who died Sunday night when she touched a gun on at her 32nd Street home and it fired a bullet at her.
“She was very, very outgoing,” Diogene of Fort Lauderdale said Tuesday. “(She was) full of energy, loved asking questions. She just had her own big personality. There were times she was the life the party. She loved to laugh.”
Diogene said the family is still in the process of making funeral arrangements. A donation drive to help the family with funeral expenses is planned for 6-9 p.m. Thursday at the Glam City Salon & Spa, 2424 N. Congress Avenue, in West Palm Beach.
Police arrested the girl’s uncle, Nathaniel Lowe, 25, and a 16-year-old boy, alleging that the two lied about the circumstances of her death and had dumped the weapon several blocks way.
It was the second tragedy to affect Diogene’s family within the last two years. In February, 2015, Woody Jacques — her younger brother and Amira’s father — was killed in a wrong-way collision in suburban West Palm Beach. Jacques fled from a Home Depot off Jog Road after a friend tried to buy drugs from an undercover federal agent, authorities said at the time.
The Boynton Beach man’s car struck a palm tree in a median off Jog Road, splitting it in two. Diogene said losing her niece so soon after her brother’s death was particularly painful.
“That is his only child,” she said. “That was the apple of his eye. She was everything to him. She was his world.”
Since her brother’s death, Amira would occasionally spend time with her father’s family, including during school breaks, Diogene said. She said she last saw the girl in August, prior to leaving for a trip to Haiti.
“She told me she loved me,” Diogene said. “She loved telling everyone that she loved them.”
Amira had recently started attending a Head Start program in Riviera Beach, or big-girl school, as she would tell family members.
“She was excited and happy,” Diogene said. “Sometimes she had trouble waking up early in the morning, but she was excited to be in big-girl school.”