Community grieves after 5-year-old killed by hit-and-run driver in Gardena

The search is on for a hit-and-run driver who killed a 5-year-old boy and seriously injured his grandmother over the weekend in Gardena.

The incident was reported around 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the intersection of Marine and Budlong avenues.

Young Patrick Chacon was walking in the crosswalk with his grandmother when he was fatally struck by a driver in an unidentified vehicle who failed to stop, identify themselves or render aid.

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Now, balloons, stuffed animals and flowers mark the corner where the 5-year-old was killed.

“He was an Amestoy student,” Gardena resident Veronica Barrera said of the child’s elementary school. “My kids go to that school. We’re an Amestoy family. Just to know he got run over with his grandma, that’s like me and my mom and my kids full time. This is the street they cross.

Even people who do not know the family have stopped by the intersection to add to the growing memorial.

“I don’t even know the kid that was lost or the grandma,” Gardena resident Anesa Boone told KTLA’s Carlos Saucedo. “I think it’s really sad. I was going to go get some flowers and bring them here.”

  • Gardena hit and run
    The scene of the fatal hit and run at Marine and Budlong in Gardena. Feb. 12, 2024 (SBR)
  • Gardena hit and run
    The scene of the fatal hit and run at Marine and Budlong in Gardena. Feb. 12, 2024 (SBR)
  • Gardena hit and run
    A small memorial for Patrick Chacon, killed by a hit-and-run driver on Feb. 11, 2024. (SBR)

Linda Patterson, who was visiting family in the neighborhood, came across the aftermath of the deadly hit-and-run.

“You could tell he wasn’t going to make it. It was just so heartbreaking,” she said. “The grandmother was laying there as they were performing CPR on her grandchild and just to hear her crying, it was so sad.”

Patrick was declared dead at the scene. His grandmother was rushed to the hospital where she is listed in stable condition.

Gardena resident Angel Nicolas said that roads in the area can be dangerous when drivers are distracted or going too fast.

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“It’s a neighborhood, so you can have kids from apartments and houses walking around here,” she said. “For this to happen, it’s a tragedy.”

Now, some in the community are angry and rallying together for justice.

“I hope they find the person that did it because this could have happened to my baby,” Barrera said. “This could have happened to my son, to my mom.”

Police say speed was not a factor in the crash and that they are looking for a mid-size dark-colored SUV. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Gardena Police Department.

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