Father identifies 9-year-old boy killed in hit-and-run outside Atlanta rec center

Family members have identified a 9-year-old boy who was killed in a hit-and-run outside an Atlanta recreation center Tuesday night.

Jamal Dean’s father shared a picture of the child with Channel 2′s Tom Jones on Wednesday.

Police are still searching for the driver, who sped away from the scene on Cleveland Ave. in front of the Rosel Fann Recreation Center in southeast Atlanta.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

Jones spoke to Dean’s father, Christopher Dean, over the phone Wednesday night. He was near tears as he described losing his son at the hands of someone who left him in the middle of the road to die.

Jones also talked to Aaron McGruder, who lives in a nearby apartment complex and said he was startled to suddenly hear someone screaming.

“I heard this loud (sound),” McGruder said. “Somebody making this gesture like, ‘Oh my gosh!’”


McGruder said that when he came out of his unit at the Fairway Gardens apartments and what he saw next broke his heart.

“My heart just dropped, to see that 9-year-old child just laying there like that,” McGruder said.

Dean died later at the hospital. A worker said he’d just left the recreation and was trying to cross the street when he was hit.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]

McGruder said it was raining on and off Tuesday night and that it is a well-lit area, but that drivers often speed on the road.

“One thing about this particular street here, everybody is in a rush,” McGruder said. Nobody want to take the time to slow down and pay attention,” McGruder said. “How in the world was this child able to cross the street without some type of supervision?”

McGruder said he’s really angry the driver refused to stop and help the child.

“That young man lost his life for no apparent reason, and this person that did it is a coward,” McGruder said. “Just left him.”

McGruder said that years ago, another child was hit and killed in the same place and that he doesn’t want to see any other child lose their life.

Officers have not given a description of the vehicle that hit Dean.