Dozens of family and loved ones gathered Wednesday night to remember the lives of a Long Beach father and his 3-year-old daughter killed when a hit-and-run driver plowed into their apartment.
As the family of Jose Palacios and his daughter Samantha … approached their growing memorial, many broke down in tears.
"Samantha was a beautiful girl," said Francisco Ramirez, an uncle.
Samantha’s mom was inconsolable, clutching onto her 15-year-old son as they returned to their apartment building near Rose Avenue and Artesia Boulevard Twenty four hours earlier, she witnessed her husband and little girl pinned underneath a truck.
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Neldi Moran, the family’s neighbor for the past 8 years, woke up to the Dodge Ram pickup truck plowing into the building.
"The mother of the baby, she say, 'Help, help me, please, my baby,'" Moran said.
Grainy security video captures the truck crashing into the apartment around 10 p.m. Tuesday before the driver ran off.
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Long Beach investigators say speed was a factor.
"She stay in my heart always, the rest of my life," Ramirez said.
Neighbors placed candles in front of the family’s home, and tried to come to grips with the loss, especially that of a life so young.
"I have a granddaughter that’s almost the same age and that’s what hurts me the most because that little girl just starting living and to lose her life like that and to a person who did that not stay at the scene and just run away? That breaks my heart," said Veronica Quezada.