WEST FARMS — Growing up, Bronxite Cindy Diaz had an impeccable fashion sense that her younger sister Carol Diaz described as the envy of the neighborhood.
"She always picked out my clothes and always wanted me to look pretty," Carol, 44, said. "Even with my friends, everybody used to always want to come home because they always wanted Cindy to dress them up."
These skills extended to hair, nails and makeup as well, earning Cindy nicknames like "Madonna" and "Cyndi Lauper" in the family's West Farms community.
Her style, however, was no defense against gun violence and Diaz's life was tragically cut short on Jan. 6, when the 48-year-old mother of five was fatally hit by a stray bullet while bringing food home to her children around 5:37 p.m. near 2012 Boston Rd.
The accidental and abrupt manner of her death have made it particularly hard for the family to take, according to Carol.
"It happened as a shock," she said. "We’re like, oh my God, this is not happening."
She referred to her older sister as her "best friend" and her "other half," describing her as an extremely generous person who was always willing to help out anyone in need.
"If people asked her for stuff, even for money, she would give them money even if they told her a BS story," she said, adding that Cindy "had a good heart."
Cindy had one 30-year-old adult son and four younger sons between ages 11 and 15, who are now with their father, according to Carol.
She said she still did not have very many details about the shooting that killed her sister but believes it was sparked by two men arguing with each other, and she was not surprised that Cindy was not the gunman's intended target.
"My sister never even smoked a cigarette in her life. She doesn’t drink. She doesn’t’ smoke. She doesn’t do drugs," she said. "That’s not who she is. She lives for her children."
The neighborhood where Cindy was killed is represented by City Councilman Ritchie Torres and State Assemblyman Luis Sepúlveda, who have both allocated money to the NYPD for additional security cameras in the area.
Torres has requested that the city's Department of Transportation conduct a lighting study in the neighborhood as well, and Carol said the family strongly supports both of these measures.
"There should be lighting there. There’s no reason why there are no cameras and there is no lighting there," she said. "This is what we want."
The family is still very upset about Cindy's death and anxious for an arrest soon, but Carol said they are trying to keep her sister's peaceful and loving personality in mind as well.
"I’m angry. My family’s angry. My mother’s angry. So it’s hard for my family to accept," she said. "We just want justice, but I know that at the same time, my sister would turn around and be like, 'It’s OK. It’s OK.'"
"She always found the good out of people, even if they were bad," Carol continued. "Really, she just wanted goodness from them."