SOUTH LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An emotional vigil was held Wednesday evening for a 16-year-old who was mowed down after leaving a youth group meeting at St. Cecila’s Catholic Church last week.
KCAL9′s Serene Branson said the vigil for Nathan Mota was emotional.
The vigil was probably made even more moving because it was held on what would have been Mota’s 17th birthday.
Branson said rather than blow out birthday candles a large crowd lit candles in Mota’s memory.
Mota was struck and killed while walking in a marked crosswalk on Normandie about 8:30 p.m. — the driver, who did not stop, left the teen for dead.
Family and friends gathered at the same crosswalk and sang “Happy Birthday.”
The group gathered to also demand the city install a light at the busy intersection.
The LAPD helped people cross the street this evening. Many in the crowd say a light is long overdue.
“There are people crossing the street, not animals. Someone is waiting for us at home,” said Nathan’s mother, Lissette Mota.
A distraught Mota told Branson her son was a standout — very smart and a role model for a lot of children.
“Living in these areas, it’s hard to have role models. He was the one telling us to keep going, keep the fight, you can make it,” said Kiara Orellana, a friend.
Mota was a senior at Verbum Dei High School, a Catholic all-boys college prep school.
Brandon Williams was a classmate and Mota’s best friend for the past 10 years.
“He gave the best hugs — a big guy, so welcoming. You know he actually cared about you,” said Williams.
Police believe the driver was in a white Nissan.
Lissette Mota says she doesn’t really care if police find the person who hit her son.
“I forgive him. Whoever did it. I don’t think it matters, if they get him or not, it’s not going to bring my son back,” said Mota.
Nathan Mota’s funeral is set for Friday.