JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dancing was one of Nay’loni Fairley’s gifts and passions. The 6-year-old was one of 53 dancers at Shanequa’s Dazzling Dolls Dance Company in Springfield.
“I never imagined losing a student, not a kid,” said Shanequa Minnis, who was Nay’loni’s dance coach.
Nay’loni died on Thursday morning after being shot at a house on Linda Drive on Jacksonville’s Northside. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says Nay’loni’s mother and two other children were inside at the time of the shooting.
JSO is trying to figure out who was holding the gun when it went off. For now, the case is being investigated as an “undetermined death.”
Minnis says the sudden and tragic death of her beloved student is hard to process.
“Just remembering what I taught her,” she said. “[Nay’loni] talking to me, me telling her I love her and [hearing] her telling me that she loved me.”
Minnis was Nay’loni’s dance coach for the last two years on her junior varsity squad for those between three and nine years old.
Minnis says Nay’loni, affectionately known as “Nay-Nay,” was one-of-a-kind.
“Nay’loni was the most live kid I ever came across,” Minnis said. “If I would get onto her about not knowing her choreography or not going home to practice, she would take it. She would just turn herself around and completely do it exactly how I asked her to do it.”
Minnis remembers Nay’loni as smart, full of life and having spunk.
“I would see her just flipping, dancing and not being still,” Minnis said with a laugh. “Nay’loni would never be still. I would have to say, ‘Nay-Nay! Chill.’”
But Minnis said Nay’loni always impressed her with her skills, tenacity, and example she set.
“I will forever be grateful to her parents, to her family for sending her my way,” she said. “I am forever thankful. Everything that we do from here on out will be for Nay’loni.”
The dancers will honor Nay’loni on Monday night at Baker Point Park, which was her favorite. They will release balloons at 6 p.m. to remember their fellow “Dazzling Dancer.”
The family said they are currently working on funeral arrangements and hope to have a date scheduled for sometime next week. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family with funeral arrangements.