As a family and a community prepare to say their goodbyes to a little girl known for her friendly smile and sweet laugh, friends and strangers gathered Thursday night to provide comfort and support.
Many carried sympathy cards along with donations to help the family of 4-year-old Amira Jacques, who died Sunday night when she picked up a gun in her Riviera Beach home and it fired a bullet that struck her in the head. On Thursday, a donation drive was held at the Glam City Salon & Spa in West Palm Beach, with proceeds going to help Amira’s family with funeral expenses.
A viewing will be from 6-8 p.m. today at Schuler’s Memorial Chapel, 5301 N. Australian Ave, in Mangonia Park. A funeral service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at New Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, 748 W. 9th St., in Riviera Beach.
“I work with kids and I have children myself, so I understand,” said Shawana Shrouder, moments after leaving a donation. “It was such a tragic event.”
Family members — particularly Amira’s mother — are still coming to terms with the tragedy, said Mary Diogene, Amira’s aunt.
“It’s still hard and we’re still trying to get through it,” she said. “(Amira’s mother) is doing a lot better. I talk to her every day and she’s doing better, but she’s still grieving.”
On Thursday, community members, including some who had never met the family, offered condolences.
“This is a sad time, so I’m basically just here to show my support,” said Jacklon Marcellus, who went to school with Amira’s mother.
Diogene expressed gratitude on behalf of the family for the community’s support. And she said he hopes the tragedy will inspire others to warn their children about the dangers of guns.
“No matter what, because we never expected this, talk to your kids,” she said tearfully. “Even if you don’t have a gun, you never know where you might take your kids … They’re never too young for you to tell them (of the danger).”
Police arrested the child’s uncle, 25-year-old Nathaniel Lowe, and a 16-year-old boy on charges, including culpable negligence. Authorities say the two were untruthful about the circumstances surrounding the girl’s death and discarded the weapon two streets away.