By Tony Aiello

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Bronx family is seeking justice after the death of its beloved patriarch. The NYPD says Roberto Velez, 59, was struck by a vehicle on Thanksgiving morning.

Family members believe several people are hiding a guilty secret, and they want answers, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Monday.

“Somebody saw something that night on Bruckner and Havermyer. That night somebody saw something,” said the victim’s sister Awilda Velez.

Her brother died last week after being removed from life support.

The NYPD believes Velez was struck by a white van early on Thanksgiving morning as he returned home from work at the Four Seasons Hotel.

But there’s something unusual about this hit-and-run. The NYPD says surveillance video shows after the van struck Velez, it pulled up the street and stopped. Then, two people are seen running right past the victim, without rendering aid. They get back into the van and drive away.

A source says cops are looking at the possibility those two people chased Velez into the street before he was struck.


“To just leave my father there on Thanksgiving morning, with no care in the world. I just hope that the people involved are eventually brought to justice,” said Roberto Carlos Velez.

The victim’s two sons say the experience has been a nightmare.

When Velez didn’t come home on Nov. 26, Caesar Velez traced his dad’s phone to Jacobi Medical Center. That’s how they learned he was injured.

They feel, between the holiday and the pandemic, the investigation got off to a slow start. The brothers say they went to the scene trying to get answers.

“Me and my older brother did the footwork, knocking on doors, you know, getting whatever information we could squeeze out of people just to make some sense of this,” said Caesar.

The family believes the NYPD is now focused on bringing those responsible to justice. A source told CBS2 the police department has worked extensively to get surveillance video to recreate the final minutes of Velez’s life.

A small group will gather Monday night at Lucchese Funeral Home to say goodbye to a man who loved animals and dedicated himself to making better lives for his family.

Tony Aiello