NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A candlelight vigil was expected to be held Monday for the little boy who police said was killed in a hit-and-run crash last week on Staten Island.
Earlier in the day, a funeral was held for 4-year-old Kyrillos Gendy at St. Mina’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Holmdel, N.J.
As CBS 2′s Kathryn Brown reported, the service was tearful and tender. Family and friends kissed the small white casket then wiped away tears as the priest talked about hope and forgiveness.
“The boy, he was so good,” a mourner told Brown.
“Yesterday I tried to think what I can say and started to speak about hope,” Father Abrahm Georgie said. “We are living by hope and we are hoping to see him in a good place and get to visit again later on.”
Known to everyone as Kyro, the 4-year-old would have started kindergarten next month at Sacred Heart School in South Amboy.
Loved ones remembered Kyrillos as a lively, fun-loving and joyful little boy who loved Sunday school and Christmas.
“He was full of life,” said the Rev. Abraham Wassef. “He was the most joyful little boy; very, very happy, always. He would always came running to myself and to Father Abrahm and give us a hug.”
Kyrillos was hit by a Mercedes-Benz at around 8:25 p.m. Friday while crossing Richmond Road on Staten Island with his mother and sister, police said. The driver sped off after the accident, police said.
“I saw a little child in the street,” said witness Thomas Thanasoulis. “The guy took off and he didn’t have the decency to stop. He knew it was a child.”
Kyrillos was pronounced dead at Staten Island University Hospital. His 34-year-old mother, identified by the family as Arini Thomas, and 7-year-old sister, identified as Gabriella Gendy, were hospitalized with minor injuries.
“The mother is in a phase of denial right now. She has no words,” said the little boy’s cousin, Adam Gendy. ”We tried. We brought in a psychiatrist team to try to come speak with her.”
Family members helped her into her son’s funeral service and sat by her side as she grieved.
“They feel anger but we are sure that he is not intended to do this. [It was] by mistake,” Vivian Georgie, a family friend of the little boy, told Brown.
The alleged driver, 33-year-old John Sanjurjo, turned himself in to police 16 hours after the crash.
He pleaded not guilty to three counts of leaving the scene of an accident on Sunday. He made $50,000 bail and was released.
Defense attorney Anthony Caronna unsuccessfully attempted to get the case against his client dismissed, arguing Sanjurjo had not been identified by witnesses of the crash.
Sanjurjo is do back in court Friday.
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