Lourdes Guzman-DeJesus hopped onto her bus Tuesday morning, but never made it to school.
The cheery 13-year-old, who loved music, dancing and art, was accidentally shot and killed by a fellow student who had carried a gun onto the school bus.
Miami-Dade police late Tuesday charged 15-year-old Jordyn Alexander Howe with manslaughter and carrying a concealed firearm. On Wednesday morning, he had his first court hearing. Howe will be held in a juvenile detention center until Dec. 11, when prosecutors will announce whether he will be charged as an adult.
The teen did not appear at the hearing. His mother and stepfather appeared briefly so that Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Angelica Zayas could appoint the public defender to represent him.
On the way to school Tuesday, Jordyn pulled the gun out of his backpack and displayed it, according to an arrest affidavit. The gun went off once, striking Lourdes in the neck.
She was flown to Miami Childrens Hospital, where she died. No one else was injured.
Lourdes and her younger sister were among eight students on the private bus bound for three Homestead area charter schools: Palm Glades Preparatory Academy, where Lourdes was a student; Summerville Advantage Academy, which her sister attended; and Jordyns school, Somerset Silver Palms.
The shooting occurred about 6:45 a.m. as the bus was traveling at Southwest 296th Street and 137th Avenue in Homestead, according to Miami-Dade police. The gun was recovered at the scene.
An 11-year-old girl on the bus immediately used her cellphone to call her mother.
Im very lucky she was OK, her mother told reporters at the scene.
Other parents flocked to Palm Glades to pick up their children. Grief counselors were also at the school.
Jordyn was taken to Miami-Dade police headquarters where he provided a sworn statement, the affidavit said. On Tuesday night, he was taken to Miami-Dade Juvenile Assessment Center.
Detectives spent the day gathering evidence and trying to interview the students at the headquarters in Doral. Miami-Dades homicide unit is in charge of the case since Homestead does not have homicide detectives.
Obviously, they are very traumatized, Miami-Dade police spokesman Alvaro Zabaleta said of the children who witnessed the shooting.
At Palm Glades, Gilberto Canino came early to pick up his two children.
I still havent been able to cope with it, he said. I dont understand how this could happen.
Im scared, said Ruth Otero, whose son, Christian, is in eighth grade. She said he walks to school but she was still worried at the news of the shooting.
The bus service is operated by Yellimar & Portieles. A man who answered the phone there said he couldnt talk because he was at the police headquarters being questioned.
Lourdes was born in New Brunswick, N.J. Her mother, Ady DeJesus, works as a recreation director for Coral Reef Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Miami.
In a statement, DeJesus described her daughter as a beautiful angel who made the honor roll at school and loved her little brother and sisters.
Feels like just yesterday I saw her running around in her Pamper, dancing and modeling for the camera, she said. Times and moments spent with Jina are memories I will cherish and keep in my heart forever.