First grader Jaxxson Schardin stood next to his mother, Tiffany, with downcast eyes and his mouth drawn downwards.
He has lost his best friend — Jacob Patino.
“I’m feeling sad,” Jaxxson said.
Jacob Patino, 5, along with his 37-year-old mother Alexandria Bustamante Gomez, were killed in their home Wednesday night, allegedly by Gomez’s husband and Patino’s father.
State police said Anthony Patino, 2, was injured in the Wednesday night attack, but survived.
Nelson Patino, 47, faces two counts of second-degree murder and one count of second-degree attempted murder. He appeared in court Thursday night and is being held.
On Friday, several dozen community members gathered at 6 p.m. at Robert B. Shafer Memorial Park, just across from Duanesburg Elementary where Jacob Patino was a kindergarten student.
During the vigil, put on by the Duanesburg Florida Baptist Church, members of the community lit candles, sang and prayed. While the family didn’t attend the church, Pastor Anthony Nicholas Solomon said he had to do something to bring the community together to remember the two lives lost and pray for the survivor.
“When something tragic like this happens, the community comes together,” he said.
Tiffany Scharding said the loss has been tough on her son, who spent bus rides playing rock, paper, scissors with Jacob. However, she said her son told her that everything will be OK “because everyone will still love Jacob even though he’s gone.”
Abby Morrison and her husband Kevin brought their family to the vigil as well. Abby Morrison said while she didn’t know the victims directly, they wanted to support the family after eating at their diner many times over the years.
“It’s hard to wrap your head around,” she said.
Memories of Jacob Patino
Past and present teachers of Jacob Patino and other members of the school district are still in shock from the news.
Some of the teaching assistants from Whispering Pines Preschool, where Jacob had been a student, attended the vigil holding photos of the young child.
Kimm Chantor said Jacob was always just so happy and the family had this warmth about them.
Chantor stayed in touch with Jacob even after he graduated. 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.
“Nelson cooked for us and paid for our meals,” 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 of Jacob’s excitement over his 3-foot by 5-foot vegetable garden that had small tomatoes growing on it.
Chantor and Simeon said Gomez was a very generous and loving human.
Chantor said Jacob always came in with the most amazing lunches, very gourmet style, and the teachers would joke about envying Jacob’s lunch.
“We told Jacob we wanted his lunch so bad because it looked so yummy and the next day he showed up with lunch for the teaching staff,” Chantor said. “More than once she [Gomez] provided lunch for us.”
Nelson Petino didn’t mind helping out people either, they said.
She said on a very snowy day Nelson came out with gloves and a smile across his face ready to push another person’s vehicle that had gotten stuck in the snow. It’s moments like these that make the situation a little bit harder to grasp, they said.
“That’s what’s very perplexing,” Chantor said.
The district also released a statement from Jacob’s kindergarten teacher, who described him as a “bright young boy.”
“Jacob was a role model to his classmates and had the sweetest smile,” said Rachel Woodrow, one of Jacob’s teachers at Duanesburg Elementary School. “He was kind, polite and took great pride in following the classroom rules. He loved to be a helper and hold the door open for his friends when going out and coming back in from recess time.”
Principal Andrea Conover choked up during a phone interview Friday afternoon while remembering Jacob.
“He was just this lovable happy young man,” she said. “Everything about his day was just fun. He just has this wonderful quirky little smile, this curly little head of hair and he just had this beautiful smile.”
She said when Patino first entered the district in its universal pre-kindergarten program he spoke very little English.
“He was just a bright little boy, his language grew exponentially by the time he even came into kindergarten,” she said.
He loved to learn, Conover said.
It was all hands on deck Friday as the district continued coping with the loss, said Superintendent James Niedermeier.
Niedermeier said multiple districts and outside organizations offered their support and assistance with counseling. A therapy dog was also brought in, he said.
Parents were encouraged to talk to their children about what happened and the school has offered resources for students, families and staff.
At the Patinos’ home — at an intersection familiar to so many, from Duanesburg and beyond — the police tape around the property is gone.
A teddy bear left for Jacob, seen Friday night, has the next watch. It sits by the front door as the porch light shines into the night.