The 13-year-old Miami girl killed while riding in her school bus was a “fun loving, helpful, a happy girl,” the family said in a statement.
Lourdes Guzman de Jesus, known as Jina, was a well-liked, energetic girl who attended the charter middle school Palm Glades Preparatory Academy. Guzman was on her way to school when a boy who was apparently showing off his gun misfired, striking and killing her.
The suspect, identified by The Miami Herald as Jordyn Alexander Howe, is in juvenile detention and may be tried as an adult, the newspaper said. Howe currently faces manslaughter charges as a juvenile.
Howe told police he took the gun out of a backpack and showed it to other students during the ride to school.
Feels like just yesterday I saw her running around in her Pamper, dancing and modeling for the camera... Times and moments spent with Jina are memories I will cherish and keep in my heart forever.
Guzman died later died at a Miami hospital.
"Feels like just yesterday I saw her running around in her Pamper, dancing and modeling for the camera," mother Ady Guzman said. "Times and moments spent with Jina are memories I will cherish and keep in my heart forever."
Howe was also charged with carrying a concealed weapon. He waived his right to appear in court Wednesday morning and will remain in a juvenile detention center.
Messages left with juvenile division officials and Howe’s mother Wednesday were not immediately returned.
Police have not released further information about the shooting. Miami-Dade Police spokeswoman Aida Fina-Milan said based on the charges "it appears to have been an accident."
Eight other children, including Guzman's 7-year-old sister, were on the bus but were not harmed. Authorities took the children and the bus driver to a police station to be interviewed.
Howe attended Somerset Advantage Academy, said Lynn Norman-Teck, a spokeswoman for the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools.
"The principal walked into every classroom to gauge their energy," she said, adding that teachers were notified that all three schools made grief counselors available to students. "But it was business as usual. The goal is to remain a regular schedule as possible," she said.
Parents of students at the charter schools contract the private school bus to transport students. Phone messages left with a number listed on the side of the bus where the shooting happened were not returned.
The school bus was not equipped with video surveillance equipment.'
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.