LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Loved ones of 2-year-old Amari Nicholson are still numb following his death, but they are honoring his life and legacy.
Close family friends and community members gathered Wednesday night for a vigil outside the Emerald Suites near Paradise and Twain.
Metro Police say Amari was killed, and they arrested 27-year-old Terrell Rhodes, the boyfriend of the toddler’s mother, on Tuesday. He is charged with murder and made his first court appearance Wednesday morning.
As those closest to Amari and his family continue to grapple with grief, they are beginning their fight for justice.
“For it to be so close to home, it hurts. It does. It hurts a lot,” lamented Mekala Hal, a family friend, who is particularly close to Amari’s maternal grandmother.
Loved ones lit candles at the vigil. Some of the flickering flames spelled “Amari,” whose bright light was put out far too soon. Close family friends remember him as a beautiful boy and special soul.
“He was a happy baby,” Hal shared. “He should be remembered as a happy baby. Nothing more, nothing less. And he is not suffering no more.”
The shock and sadness are still setting in.
Amari’s body was found Wednesday, causing overwhelming emotion — but not enough closure.
“Anger, confusion. A little bit of peace, a little bit of peace,” said family friend Arielle Mathews.
Hal added, “But we still want to know why. And how could somebody hurt an innocent baby?”
As they search for answers, those who knew Amari are trying to figure out what to do now.
“Go home, pray, talk. Talk to Amari, just, hopefully, he’s looking down on all of us,” said family friend Jacques Nalls.
Family and friends are bracing for the days and weeks ahead, and they are relying on their faith to give Amari the justice he deserves.
“Give it to God, at the end of the day,” Hal said. “God has the last word, has the last say.”
Loved ones say they are focusing on the legal process now, adding that they will do whatever it takes to keep Amari’s killer behind bars.