Lunide Denis worked on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in the last months of her life.
Denis, of Tamarac, was shot dead early Sunday morning at a birthday party in unincorporated central Broward County after someone began shooting. Deon White, 20, of Fort Lauderdale, was also killed. Two others, whose identities haven’t been released, were injured in the shooting. The Broward Sheriff’s Office has released few details but said the investigation is ongoing.
A phlebotomist who had dreams of becoming a nurse, putting her younger sisters through college and buying her mother a house, 23-year-old Denis took great pride in her work, said her cousin, Brandy Fanfan, 21, of Sunrise.
“She took pride in being a hero on the front lines,” Fanfan said.
Denis’ older brother Kevin posted on GoFundMe that he “took great pride in being someone she could count on.” He said the family plans to use money left after funeral expenses toward a college fund for their younger sisters.
Fanfan said she grew up with Denis and called her cousin a “beautiful soul” who put others before herself.
“She was a go-getter, but she wore her heart on her sleeves,” she said. “The friendliest person I’ve ever known, literally everyone loved her! So lovable and never without a smile.”
Denis attended the birthday party in the 3000 block of Northwest 12th Court in unincorporated Broward County.
Witness Genesie Homes described a large party with the street full of people, which turned to chaos with “people running everywhere” after the shooting started about 1:30 a.m. Homes, a nurse, said she tried to help the injured and performed CPR until deputies and paramedics arrived.
As a phlebotomist, Denis would draw blood from patients in preparation for various medical procedures and tests, but she was continuing her medical education to advance her career.
“She had also enrolled to further her education as a forensic nurse. She loved how important she felt to helping and impacting other people’s lives,” Fanfan said.
Denis also had a passion for fashion, running an online boutique she hoped to expand.
“She was a true beauty queen. She would often joke that she was the Beyoncé of the family,” Fanfan said.
“She was someone I could run to and tell my problems and walk away feeling empowered. She would give the shirt off her back for a stranger. Sometimes I wondered how someone with such a sweet heart was yet so strong,” Fanfan said of her cousin.
Austen Erblat can be reached at [email protected], 954-599-8709 or on Twitter @AustenErblat.
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