Community, former teachers remember Duanesburg victims at vigil – The Daily Gazette
First-grader Jaxxson Schardin stood next to his mother, Tiffany, eyes downcast and mouth pulled down.
He has lost his best friend, Jacob Patino.
âI feel sad,â Jaxxson said.
Jacob Patino, 5, and his mother, 37, Alexandria Bustamante Gomez, were killed at their home on Wednesday evening, allegedly by Gomez’s husband and Patino’s father.
State Police said Anthony Patino, 2, was injured in Wednesday night’s attack but survived.
Nelson Patino, 47, faces two counts of second degree murder and one count of attempted second degree murder. He appeared in court Thursday evening and is being detained.
On Friday, several dozen community members gathered at 6 p.m. at Robert B. Shafer Memorial Park, directly across from Duanesburg Elementary School where Jacob Patino was a kindergarten student.
During the vigil, hosted by the Baptist Church in Duanesburg, Florida, community members lit candles, sang and prayed. Although the family did not attend church, Pastor Anthony Nicholas Solomon said he must do something to bring the community together to remember the two lives lost and to pray for the survivor.
âWhen something tragic like this happens, the community comes together,â he said.
Tiffany Scharding said the loss was hard on her son, who spent bus rides playing rocks, paper and scissors with Jacob. However, she said her son told her everything would be fine “because everyone will still love Jacob even if he’s gone.”
Abby Morrison and her husband Kevin also brought their family to the vigil. Abby Morrison said that while she did not know the victims directly, they wanted to support the family after eating at their restaurant several times over the years.
âIt’s hard to get an idea,â she said.
Memories of Jacob Patino
Teachers past and present of Jacob Patino and other members of the school district are still in shock at the news.
Some of the teaching assistants at Whispering Pines Preschool, where Jacob had been a student, attended the vigil, taking pictures of the young child.
Kimm Chantor said Jacob was always so happy and the family had this warmth about them.
Chantor kept in touch with Jacob even after graduating. In July, she and another teaching assistant, Janet Simeon, met Jacob and the rest of his family at the Duanesburg Diner for a play date.
âNelson cooked for us and paid for our meals,â she said. “When we went to insist that we wanted to pay, he happily did a victory dance that he was able to treat us.”
The first memory that popped into Simeon’s head was Jacob’s excitement for his 3ft by 5ft vegetable patch that had little tomatoes growing on it.
Chantor and Simeon have stated that Gomez is a very generous and loving human.
Chantor said Jacob always came with the most amazing breakfasts, very gourmet style, and the teachers joked about envying Jacob’s lunch.
âWe told Jacob we wanted his lunch so much because it looked so delicious and the next day he showed up with lunch for the teachers,â Chantor said. “More than once she [Gomez] provided lunch for us.
Nelson Petino was also not afraid to help people, they said.
She said on a very snowy day Nelson came out with gloves on and a smile on his face ready to push another person’s vehicle that got stuck in the snow. It’s times like these that make the situation a little harder to grasp, they said.
âThat’s what’s very confusing,â Chantor said.
The district also released a statement from Jacob’s kindergarten teacher, who described him as a “bright young boy.”
âJacob was a role model for his classmates and had the sweetest smile,â said Rachel Woodrow, one of Jacob’s teachers at Duanesburg Elementary School. âHe was kind, polite and took great pride in following the rules of the class. He loved being a helper and keeping the door open for his friends when he got out and came home from recess.
Principal Andrea Conover choked on a phone interview on Friday afternoon remembering Jacob.
âHe was just this lovely, happy young man,â she said. âEverything about her day was just fun. He just has that wonderful, quirky little smile, that little curly hair and he just had that beautiful smile.
She said that when Patino first entered the district on his universal preschool program, he spoke very little English.
“He was just a bright little boy, his tongue grew exponentially by the time he even entered kindergarten,” she said.
He loved to learn, said Conover.
Everything was on bridge on Friday as the district continued to face loss, Superintendent James Niedermeier said.
Niedermeier said multiple districts and outside organizations have offered counseling support and assistance. A therapy dog ââwas also brought in, he said.
Parents were encouraged to tell their children about what happened and the school offered resources to students, families and staff.
At the Duanesburg Road house where the incident happened, the police tape has been removed from around the property and a lone teddy bear is sitting on the porch under the porch light.
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Categories: Schenectady County