A professional mixed martial arts fighter plans to donate his son's organs after he was pronounced brain dead Sunday as a result of his injuries after an alleged drunken driver crashed into the baby and his teenage aunt in Los Angeles County.
The 15-month-old, Liam Kowal, was taken off life support Tuesday.
The baby's father Marcus Kowal told NBC4 that he and his wife plan on donating his organs to another child who may need them.
Local news from across Southern California
"The man we would have raised him to be ... he would want to do that anyway," Kowal said, fighting back tears.
The boy's body was kept alive several days after the crash in preparation for organ donation.
"I've lost my son but he wasn't in pain," Kowal said. "That's the one thing out of this. He was never in pain. It happened so quickly."
Liam's 15-year-old aunt was pushing the baby in a stroller inside a Hawthorne crosswalk when they were both struck by an SUV on Saturday.
The crash occurred on 133rd Street and Hawthorne Boulevard around 4:20 p.m., police said.
The driver, Donna Marie Higgins, fled the scene of the crash, but witnesses followed her. They used their cars to block Higgins in until police arrived.
Higgins, 72, was arrested for felony hit and run and felony drunken driving. She is now out after posting $100,000 bail.
The LA County district attorney's office will likely update Higgins charges to homicide or murder charges, officials said.
"There's no greater loss than the loss of your child," Liam's uncle said.
Kowal, Liam's father, is a decorated MMA fighter.
The support we have received from the Martial Arts world is unreal. From #BJJ to #KravMaga to MMA. Tears are running down my cheeks as I look at this picture of my little boy and read the message from @bashboxing and @cxf_mma #Repost @bashboxing with @repostapp ・・・ Our event #Sept10th will be dedicated entirely to the memory of Liam Kowal. If you have been to one of our fights chances are you know Marcus Kowal. To know the man, is to love the man. As the owner of @systemstrainingcenter and @systemstcencino Marcus is a huge part of our family. Fewer men posses a better attitude or general love of life than Mac. Today we received the worst news imaginable. His 15 month old son, Liam, was tragically killed when he was hit by a drunk driver yesterday afternoon. While in his stroller, Liam and his Aunt were in the crosswalk when an SUV barreled through them before fleeing the scene. Liam bravely, and valiantly fought for his life, but ended up succumbing to his injuries. At this time, all we can do is support Marcus, his wife Mishel and Liam's Aunt who was also injured in the accident. In order to do so, we will be donating a portion of every ticket sold to a fund in Liam's memory, that will be set aside for the family....We will also be holding a silent auction of some very high quality signed boxing and #MMA merchandise with the proceeds also being collected for the family. Please continue to pray for Marcus, Mishel and their family.....CXF4 Crossroads is now CXF "For Liam" #prayersforliamkowal #CXFForLiam #weareone @mrlightsout21 @bashboxing @lightsout_promotion @theclinchreport @custom_t_shirt_printing
"The support we have received from the Martial Arts world is unreal," Kowal posted on his Instagram. "Tears are running down my cheeks as I look at this picture of my little boy."
The MMA organization California Xtreme Fighting is holding an event on Sept. 10 along with a silent auction of autographed boxing and MMA merchandise to benefit the Kowal family.
A GoFundMe page has also been started in Liam's honor to help with the family's medical expenses and funeral costs.