OXNARD (CBSLA.com) — An Oxnard family shared tears and memories of a 17-year-old teenager who was struck and killed by a vehicle as he stepped into the street to retrieve a basketball.
"He was my pride and joy. I love him so much. Now that they took him away from me, it's like a piece of my heart that I don't have," said Irma Gonzalez of her son, Mark Gonzalez.
Irma and Socorro Gonzalez held onto each other as they spoke about the loss of their son, a teen with special needs who had a learning disability and the mental capacity of an 11-year-old.
The family explained that Mark, who loved sports and wanted to be a disc jockey, was playing basketball at his home on Dollie Street around 10 a.m. Sunday.
When he stepped into the street to retrieve his basketball, he was hit and killed by a car, whose driver didn't stop to help.
"That accident broke our lives. It's going to be hard to be happy again without him," said Socorro Gonzalez, the victim's father.
Oxnard police say the suspect's car was caught on security cameras right before the crash.
It's described by police as a light-colored sedan, possibly a Nissan or an Acura. It has tinted rear windows, a spoiler, a sunroof and black rims. The car should also have front-end damage to the passenger side.
"If you're unlicensed or don't have insurance, they can deal with that. It might not even be your fault but once you leave the scene of the accident, that becomes a crime," said Sgt. Humberto Jimenez with the Oxnard Police Department, Mark's uncle.
"I just want justice. That's all I want. If that person hears me, please speak up," Gonzalez said.
While police search for the driver, the Gonzalezes say they've decided to donate Mark's organs so that their smart and determined son will live on through others.
"In that way, he's going to be still alive to us," Mark's father said.
Mark would've started his senior year at Adolfo Camarillo High School this week.
Anyone with information about this case was asked to call the Oxnard Police Department.
for more features.