‘I don’t hate you’: Father of 9-year-old boy hit, killed by driver urges suspect to surrender

ATLANTA — The father of a 9-year-old boy police said was killed in a hit and run is urging the woman officers identified as the driver to turn herself in.

Atlanta Police said 59-year-old Tomasa Mendoza was behind the wheel when Jamal Dean was hit in January in front of a recreation center. Officers told Channel 2 Action News Mendoza is now a fugitive.

Christopher Dean was elated to hear officers have identified a suspect. He said it has been rough these last 5 months since his son was taken from him.

“Not a moment goes by when I don’t think about him,” he told Channel 2′s Tom Jones.

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Dean told Jones he constantly thinks about Jamal. He also thinks about the driver who hit and killed him and didn’t stop.

“Such a senseless way. Just a person being impatient. That’s why my son died. Cause a person was impatient,” he explained.

Atlanta Police said that person was Mendoza.

“I don’t hate you. I don’t wish any harm or ill will to you. But you took the most precious thing to me,” Dean said.

Jamal’s mother dropped him off in front of the Rosel Fann Recreation Center on Cleveland Avenue because there was a lot of traffic.

Jamal was anxious to get inside to sign up for a basketball league. He loved basketball. Police believe Mendoza went around the traffic and hit Jamal as he tried to cross the street. Officers said she then drove off.


“She knew she hit something,” Dean believes.

He said officers said Mendoza’s daughter told them her mother didn’t know she hit a child and that she was rushing to get her insulin.

“At the end of the day you’re still living your life and my son isn’t. Think about if that was you. Think about if that was your child,” he said.

Dean told Channel 2 Action News it was a relief hearing police have a suspect and he said it will bring some sense of closure when she is finally in custody.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact them.

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