Authorities were searching for the driver after a father of three was killed in a hit-and-run crash in the Vermont Square neighborhood of South Los Angeles Saturday night, police said.
The crash occurred around 9 p.m. near the intersection of South Vermont Avenue and West 43rd Street, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The victim, identified by his family as Alex Perez, had stepped away from his 1-year-old daughter's birthday and baptism party to greet a guest when he was struck, witnesses said.
He was walking in a crosswalk when the vehicle failed to stop and hit him, according to police. The driver then fled the scene.
Paramedics responded and transported him to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
"He was trying to give my sister the best party," said Perez's son Derek Canjura, 12.
Perez also leaves behind a 5-year-old son, family said.
“That’s sad, they’re going to grow up without a father," Lupe Torres, who lives in the area, said. "Who’s going to be with them? Who’s going to hug them? Who’s going to kiss them goodnight, tuck them in bed? Nobody.”
The stretch of roadway where Perez was killed has been the site of numerous deadly traffic collisions, according to Torres.
“It’s dangerous. Even when the light’s green, you have to run," she told KTLA. "I feel like I go into war, like a battlefield.”
Witnesses say the car that struck Perez was a red, four-door Honda Civic, but investigators had not yet released a description of the suspect or vehicle as of Sunday night.