7-Year-Old Calif. Boy Dies in Father's Arms After Being Struck by Truck in Crosswalk, Driver Arrested

The driver of the vehicle was arrested on suspicion of felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence

Gabriel Garate
Gabriel Garate. Photo: GoFundMe

A 7-year-old California boy was struck and killed while walking through a crosswalk on Tuesday, officials said.

Gabriel Garate wanted to play baseball, so he and his father, Francisco, decided to walk toward Stearns Champions Park in Long Beach, the Long Beach Post News reported.

They proceeded to walk across Lakewood Boulevard when the driver of a 2005 Dodge pickup truck allegedly failed to yield to them as he made a left turn, and then struck the boy, police told the Post News.

"All I could do was hold him in my arms and tell him, 'My baby, my baby,'" Francisco told the newspaper. "We were doing everything right. It should have never happened."

Gabriel died at the scene. The driver of the vehicle, James Barnes, 57, was arrested on suspicion of felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. Online records showed he was released on $50,000 bail.

It was not clear if the driver has been formally charged or if he has entered a plea. It was also not clear if he has an attorney.

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Authorities told Fox11 the driver remained on the scene and cooperated with investigators. Drugs and alcohol allegedly did not play a role in the crash, the station reported from police.

Meanwhile, Gabriel's parents are grieving the loss of their only son, according to a GoFundMe page set up by Francisco's niece to help pay for funeral costs.

"I know that anyone that met little Gabriel, felt his light and it touched your heart," Janette Avila wrote on the site. "I would like everyone to invite those memories back, say his name and send prayers of comfort to my uncle, my grandma ... and everyone that loved Gabriel."

Gabriel was expected to start the second grade and enjoyed playing baseball and video games, the Post News reported.

"He was my little buddy. We did everything together," his father told the paper. "He was an amazing kid."

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