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‘Loved by everybody’: 6-year-old killed in accidental shooting laid to rest in Jacksonville

Family and friends gather to mourn ‘vibrant, charming’ first grader remembered as talented dancer

Family and friends gather to mourn ‘vibrant, charming’ first grader remembered as talented dancer.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Family and friends gathered Saturday to show their love for a 6-year-old Jacksonville girl who died last week in an accidental shooting at her home.

Nay’loni Fairley was laid to rest at Evergreen Cemetery on Main Street following a memorial service at The Truth Church.

“I did not know how far her love stretched in Jacksonville,” Nay’loni’s father, James Fairley, said. “She was loved by everybody.”

Nay’loni was in the first grade and is remembered as a “vibrant, intelligent and inspiring” girl. She was described a charming and someone you just had to know.

James Fairley says his daughter, Nay'loni, was 'amazing, beautiful, strong and confident.' (Photos provided)

“My heart is always heavy because I know that she is not going to be with me physically,” James Fairley, said.

Those who loved Nay’loni filed into The Truth Church on Saturday morning, many dressed in her favorite color, purple, to celebrate her life. Matching purple flowers and a large teddy bear led her casket out of the church.

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According to a report from the Florida Department of Children & Families data for child fatalities in Duval County, Nay’loni accidentally shot herself in the head Oct. 7 with her mother’s gun. She died shortly after at a local hospital.

James Fairly told News4Jax he got the heartbreaking call from Nay’loni’s mother, who he says performed CPR on their daughter until first responders got to the scene.

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The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the case as an “undetermined death.”

James Fairley said his daughter had a burning passion -- and talent -- for dance. She spent the last two years as a member of Shanequa’s Dazzling Dolls Dance Company in the Springfield neighborhood.

Her coach, Shanequa Minnis, was always impressed with Nay’loni’s passion and eagerness to enhance a gift she already had.

Nay'loni Fairley, 6, with her dance coach Shanequa Minnis (center). Nay'loni, affectionately called "Nay-Nay," died after a shooting at her Jacksonville home this week. (Photos provided)

“That kid was amazing,” Minnis said. “She was an amazing kid. She was a Nay’loni. You had to know Nay’loni.”

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“My daughter really loved what she did,” James Fairley said. “The passion that she did it, and she loved everything about what she did.”

James said there is a special moment he will always cherish with his only daughter from earlier this year. The two danced together at Nay’loni’s grandparents’ vow renewal ceremony. It would be their only performance together.

“That was the best dance I ever had,” James said. “I’ve danced a lot of places, but me and my daughter together, we stand strong.”

To know her was to love her. That was a sentiment expressed strongly over the last week.

“My daughter wants me to be strong,” James said. “I’m going to keep doing it for her.”

A horse-drawn carriage took 6-year-old Nay’loni Fairley to her final resting place at Evergreen Cemetery.

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