BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Family and friends gathered to say goodbye to Angel Berumen, the 16-year-old who was killed in a hit and run in January in east Bakersfield.
It was an emotional service seeing so many teenagers sitting in those seats, reminding everyone there that Angel’s life was taken too soon.
The service started at 10 a.m. and, one after another for almost two hours, family and friends went up to share stories of all the good times they spent with Angel. Many still trying to make sense of what happened.
“Seeing him in that box, how do you see your grandbaby in a box. Knowing that now today, it is the last day that I am going to physically see him. I just don’t know how people do it,” said Joanie Moscatello, Angel’s Grandma.
Known to Angel as mee-maw, Joanie Moscatello, said these past few weeks without him have been unbearable.
“There hasn’t been a day that I haven’t cried, there is a huge emptiness in my life now.”
That emptiness was felt across the room, full of people that showed up to the service on Tuesday. Many wearing lavender, Angel’s favorite color, and others in their school jackets.
Through the tears and the memories shared, one thing was constant, the positivity they felt when Angel was around.
“When I felt bad and when I saw other people feel bad, he would come up and cheer them up by saying something random. Even if he was not in a good mood, he would say it and make us all happy,” said Ruben Altamirano, Angel’s friend.
Ruben Altamirano has known Angel since they were 13 and said there is a silence in their classrooms now. He said he will forever remember Angel as the king of random facts.
As for Jasmine Burleson, Angel’s mother, she said the support she saw during the service meant a lot to her.
“Warms my soul for them to say all the same things. That he was loyal and that he would pick them up when they were down. My son was fighting his own battles with depression, but he would never let anyone see that. For everyone who came out, it is amazing to me.”
At the end of the ceremony, family and friends released doves and balloons.
His grandma, Joanie, said Angel will live on through the five people who received some of his organs including his heart.
“I know that there is a 46-year-old man out there, that has my 16-year-old baby’s heart, so I just hope that he treasures it, the way we treasured it.”
The family said they will continue to fight for changes to Nile Street, where Angel was hit, to hopefully put in a streetlight or sidewalk, and will also follow the court case.
“I will be [here] until this ends, the same way I didn’t leave the hospital until my baby left, I am not leaving Bakersfield until this case is over,” said Jasmine.
The man being charged with the hit and run as well as the others charged with conspiracy have all been let out on bail. The next court case for the alleged driver is in May, and we will also continue to follow that case to bring you the latest update.