Teachers of 3-year-old Omar Awaida said he loved to learn about life.
Lisa Harris, infant and toddler assistant director at the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center, said she remembers a time when a squirrel fell out of a tree and died at the IPCDC. She used the event as an opportunity to teach the kids about life and animals, though she told the children that the squirrel was sleeping.
Harris said Omar came to her every day to check in on the squirrel, asking her “where’s the squirrel? Is it OK?” He took such an interest in the squirrel that his mother called to get pictures of the squirrel Omar talked so much about.
IPCDC director Alec Colchico said Omar was always happy to be where he was playing with his friends. She said he has the biggest smile.
“He was such an amazing little boy,” Harris said. “We’ll miss him very much.”
Omar and his mother and father Raihan Dakhil, Joseph Awaida were hit by an alleged drunken driver after his car jumped a curb in Los Cerritos Park on Halloween.
All three members of died in the days after the incident. Awaida died Oct. 31, the night of the accident, Omar died Nov. 2 and Dakhil died Nov. 3. The driver was identified as 20-year-old Carlo Navarro, who was released on Nov. 1 after posting bail.
Omar’s mother and father both graduated from Long Beach State. Dakhil graduated in spring 2019 with a graduate degree in social work. Awaida graduated in spring 2018 with a bachelors in sociology.
There is a vigil planned for the family Nov. 5 in the IPCDC courtyard at 6 p.m.