BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Police have not named suspected killers in the case of a 13-year-old found dead with multiple gun shot wounds Tuesday morning.
Cortez Batiste was found dead at about 1:18 a.m. near railroad tracks on East Brundage Lane.
Grief counselors are on hand at the middle school Batiste attended.
Family and friends are holding a car wash at the Elks Lodge at 1414 E. California Avenue Wednesday to raise money for a funeral.
The family is still in shock over the loss and are searching for answers.
"It's my birthday tomorrow. I can't even hold or hug my son," said Latasha Batiste.
Batiste says her son was walking to her sister house around 9 p.m. Monday night, just a few blocks away from hers, when he was killed.
"Keep track of your kids, protect them, make sure they are safe because you never know. Me and my baby take this route home everyday and all of a sudden this happened," said Latasha Batiste.
Family members say Cortez Batiste was a young man full of life, had no affiliation with gangs and was struck down before his life began. Latasha Batiste says even though her heart is broken, she will not hold a grudge against those who killed her son.
"To the person that did it, I don't wish bad, i pray for him and his family just as well as everybody prays for me. I just want to ask him, what did he do so wrong to you, that you took his life," said Latasha Batiste.
The family will be holding a candle light vigil Wednesday night at 7 p.m. next to St John Baptist Church, located at 1401 E Brundage Ln. Additionally, they will be holding a car wash donation rally at the church Thursday at 2 p.m.
A relief fund has been set up on behalf of Cortez Batiste for funeral arrangement donations at Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, account number 45172. Make checks payable to Latasha Batiste.
If you have any information, you are urged to call Bakersfield Police at 661-327-7111.
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