DENVER (CBS4) – Nearly 100 people gathered in West Denver on Tuesday night for a vigil dedicated to the boy killed in a hit and run on Sunday.
People came together near the place where Mikey Espinoza, 11, was killed.
Many of those attending the vigil were relatives, including his cousin who witnessed the deadly hit and run.
Friends and family remembered the life of Mikey Espinoza with candles in hand.
“We never know how death is going to affect us but we do know today that Mikey is in a better place,” said the pastor.
Many of those who spoke at the vigil recalled the fifth grader’s kind smile and big heart. Espinoza was a student at Knapp Elementary School.
“Love your kids while they’re here because once they’re gone there’s no coming back,” said Mikey’s mother Chastity Espinoza.
Mikey’s cousin, 14-year-old Joseph Manzanares, was crossing Federal Boulevard with him when a speeding car struck Mikey and then drove off.
“Everyone was just taking pictures when I was trying to take care of my cousin. I had my arm around his neck while he was bleeding out of his ears,” said Manzanares.
He held his cousin in the street until police arrived, but Mikey didn’t survive.
Relatives said Mikey’s death is a hurt that will never leave and they wouldn’t be as angry had the driver stopped to help.
“You know it’s not the act that he did, it was an accident. It’s what he did after,” said Mikey’s uncle.
Manzanares said he is thankful that police were able to track down the driver.
“He took my best friend out of my life and there’s nothing that guy can replace that with,” said Manzanares.
Mikey’s family is seeking justice and said they hope the driver spends the rest of his life in prison.