GRAVESEND, Brooklyn — No father should shed tears for the death of a child, but Benjamin Tello had to endure just that on Monday night.
His son was killed by a hit-and-run driver over the weekend.
"He always was with me in the hospital and then my mom went to the hospital and I lost my mom. Now I lost my son, I know I am going to be strong because that is the way he wanted to."
Tello shared this story through tears at vigil for his son Alejandro. The teen was struck and killed by a hit and run driver on Sunday at the intersection 10th Street and Avenue T in Gravesend.
Community members met at a makeshift memorial Monday night. They hugged, prayed, and reflected on the teen's life.
The driver fled the scene seconds after impact and has yet to be located. Alejandro's father Benjamin had the following message on Monday night, "I would like to say that I forgive him."
You read correct.
He forgives the driver who fled and has yet to be found.
Paula Dekhay watched the vigil from an opposite corner. She watched because she saw the aftermath of the accident as it unfolded on Sunday. Dekhay says she has a difficult time comprehending the actions of the driver.
"I don't understand how you can do that? I feel like it can be imprinted on your soul forever and if you don't have a conscience and if you don't have that going for you, then I feel really bad for you."
There were others who made a quick cameo of the vigil on their bicycles. Urish Morris gave PIX 11 News his perspective of what these city streets can be like, "Really dangerous."
However, in the end was Benjamin who offered not guidance on how to navigate these streets, but a rather a suggestion to parents and children and he mourns the loss of one of his own.
"And to all your parents, please protect your kids. Have a conversation with them. Kids talk to your father, to your mother, as a mother, as a father and as a friend, believe in them."