BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -
Latasha Batiste gathered the strength to visit the site where Bakersfield police officers found her 13-year-old son, Cortez gunned down.
"I didn't want to go over there, but when I went over there. I wanted to see the candles and where they put the balloons," she said.
Loved ones held candles and prayed for the teen and for his mother and six siblings he leaves behind.
"I have a lot of people to support me, which I didn't expect in the communities, schools; I never knew my baby was loved so much," said Batiste.
Family members describe Cortez as a happy boy who found enjoyment in making people laugh. It’s not clear why the teen was murdered, or if he was involved in any gangs.
"Not that I know of, not so far that I know of, every time people have been coming, I really haven't heard nothing bad about him, it's all been good stuff like if he was doing something I don't know if they are covering it up or not," said Batiste.
Family members are devastated and say their being strong thanks to the support of the community.
"Healing needs to come quick in any situation, in any tragedy, any crisis and when you have situations like this, it helps bring answers, it helps bring closure,” said Ray Ballard with Operation Soul Winner.
Prayer rally is set for the teen Thursday at St. John Missionary Baptist Church. Family members plan to attend as they continue to heal.
“The pain and the hurt, and the sorrow and the grief that the family feels is so over whelming and to know that there is people behind them that care and support and are willing to come in and are willing to do what they can to help the family during this time brings hope, brings healing, it just does so much," said Ballard.
Carlos is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carloscorrea23abc
To donate to the family, an account has been set up at Kern Schools:
Cortez Batiste / Latasha Batiste Account# 45172
Dresses being collected for Taft prom
Students at Taft High School are taking donations of prom dresses.
BPD looking for grand theft auto suspect
The Bakersfield Police Department is looking for a man they say stole a car with a four-year-old still in it.
A job that takes a special kind of heart
Kern County Animal Services is responsible for hundreds of animals and to make sure they are all cared for properly, employees with the title…
Nonprofit helps family displaced by fire
A family of five is still struggling to get back on their feet after a fire destroyed their home earlier this month.