DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) - A grieving community came together to pay tribute to a schoolteacher, days after she was fatally gunned down in a Southwest Miami-Dade home.

More than 100 people gathered Sunday at Doral Academy, most dressed in black, to pay tribute to Maria Cruz de la Cruz, 51, a beloved math teacher at the K-9 charter school.

7News cameras captured a sign with Cruz’s picture that reads, “In loving tribute. Maria Cruz, forever in our hearts.”

Those who had Cruz de la Cruz as a teacher said that teaching math wasn’t the only path to success that she paved out for her students.

“I used to come to her a lot besides school. I used to ask her, I don’t know, stuck questions about many other things,” said former student Victoria Mock.

“She talked to us, she made the class fun and enjoyable, we wanted to be there for her, we always were excited in the mornings to go to her class,” said former student Kelly Eman. “She always had a pure smile and, like, she made a huge impact in everybody’s life. Like, she did a lot for us.”

“It feels nice coming back because we know we’re commemorating her life,” said former student Isabella Chacon. “I remember one time going into her classroom, and she was like, ‘Do you want a pancake?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, yes, thank you.’ And she opened the pancakes, and it was lunch, so we were like, I really felt, like, you know, like a home there in her classroom.”

Cruz de la Cruz’s classroom became a home that helped her students through tough times. Now that huddle bringing students together to honor her life.

“It was, like, really sad to see how it happened and, like, the fact that she’s no longer with us,” said Eman.

According to Miami-Dade Police, Cruz de la Cruz and another man were shot in a home along the 9900 block of Southwest 165th Terrace in the Palmetto Estates neighborhood, Friday afternoon.

Detectives said responding officers found another man dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Police spent hours investigating and speaking with two young women at the scene.

“It’s sad,” said Eman.

“But she was super sweet, and she deserved a lot,” said another former student.

Now, flowers, balloons and candles help a community pay their respects, as they mourn the loss of this beloved teacher.

“She was more than a teacher,” said a former student.

“She was like a second mom,” said another former student.

Cruz leaves behind two daughters. Now teachers, staff and students at Doral Academy are sending their prayers to those girls.

“It was like really sad to see how it happened. And like, the fact that she’s no longer with us,” Eman said.

Students are set to return on Tuesday after the Labor Day Holiday, where the halls will be noticeably absent of the kind spirit that students speak fondly of.

“Sometimes I needed a hug and I wasn’t sure who to ask and I would go to her,” said Mock.

Doral Academy Just Arts and Management has created a GoFundMe page for Cruz de la Cruz. If you would like to make a donation, click here.

Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers is working to find out more on what triggered this tragedy.

If you have any information on this shooting, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.

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