"Never could I imagine you’d be taken from me, from the world,” the grieving mother said.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 16, 2023. It has since been updated.
A 9-year-old boy, Jamal Dean died after allegedly being hit by a Ford truck outside a recreation center on Cleveland Avenue in southeast Atlanta on January 3. The incident happened just around 6:40 p.m. near the Rosel Fann Recreation Center located at 365 Cleveland Ave. SE, per 11Alive. According to investigators, the vehicle that struck the boy had fled the scene.
Police said that the young boy was rushed to an area hospital in critical condition. However, his injuries were too severe and he died at the hospital. His father, Christopher Dean, told WSB TV, that Jamal died in his mother's arms.
"His mom said he jumped out the car and she was like, 'Hold on son.' But as soon as he stepped out the car..." https://t.co/aGFhv1Prg3— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) January 5, 2023
He added that Jamal and his mother had visited the center to sign up for basketball. He said that Jamal was so excited that he jumped out of the car and attempted to cross the street. Explaining further Dean said, “He was getting ready to play in a basketball tournament this weekend. That’s why he was at that rec center.” The grieving father added, "He was my baby. I am so devastated."
The boy was taken to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. https://t.co/5T8GMFQgLJ— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) January 4, 2023
Jamal's mother was required to register him at the recreational center to play in the tournament. On that day, it was storming and the traffic was heavy. “His mom said he jumped out the car, and she was like, ‘Hold on son'. But as soon as he stepped out, a car came out, swerved, and hit him. My son,” Dean said. “He was such a happy, happy child.” The boy's heartbroken family had celebrated his birthday only in October.
REST IN PEACE to 9-year-old Jamal Dean was killed last night in a hit-and-run outside of an Atlanta recreation center last night. Please pray for the family and friends affected. 🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/Shv0u0J8kj— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) January 5, 2023
Dean said his son, a Hawthorne Elementary School third-grader was smart, always positive and a joy to be around. He said he had a big, forgiving heart, even for the driver who hit him. “If my son would have survived, he would have forgiven him,” Dean said. “He didn’t have an evil thought in his soul.” He further added, “How could you leave? Just leave a kid like that on the street?”
The search continues for the driver who hit a 9-year-old boy and took off leaving him to die.— Atlanta News First (@ATLNewsFirst) January 5, 2023
His mother has shared a statement on a GoFundMe page for her son, "My children are my whole world. So as I type this message I am broken. How am I supposed to live without him, Jamal my best friend, my love, my baby?" She added, "My family and I are devastated, never have I felt so much pain. Jamal, baby how am I supposed to live without you. You gave me purpose, you needed me and I still need you. Never could I imagine you’d be taken from me, from the world.”
Other parents in Atlanta also expressed their concern over Jamal's death. "It shouldn't have happened, but it did. Whoever's responsible should turn themselves in," said Dennis Jones, who lives nearby and said he's sending prayers for Jamal's mother. "I understand her pain because I just buried my son in September. He was killed in a car accident", Jones added, per CBS.
Officers said they are looking for a newer model red Ford F-150. They believe a man, with a beard and gold teeth, was driving the truck. Councilmember Antonio Lewis said that before he hit Jamal and drove off, the suspect drove around several cars.
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe