Vigil held for boy, 8, killed in hit-and-run in Southwest Detroit

Loved ones of Brandyn Starks gather Saturday night

DETROIT – Family members of an 8-year-old boy who was killed after being hit while crossing the street are making an emotional plea to the driver who left him to die.

UPDATE: Man arrested in Ecorse in connection with Southwest Detroit hit-and-run that killed 8-year-old 

Brandyn Starks died two days ago when he was killed in a hit-and-run in Southwest Detroit.

Loved ones of Brandyn gathered Saturday night at Kemeny Park in Southwest Detroit for a vigil. It's the same park Brandyn was headed to Thursday when he was hit and killed while crossing Fort Street.

Joe Starks said his son was a loving and smart boy.

"He was just a friendly kid and on his tragic day, he just wanted to be just that -- a kid. He wanted to go and play at the park," Joe Starks said. "He never met a stranger. He always smiled. He laughed."

Brandyn's mother, Brandy Starks, said Brandyn had autism and was kind to everyone.

"Many people in his life didn't accept Brandyn the way that he was, but he was always so friendly to them," she said.

The family is from the south and just moved to Detroit about three months ago. They were adjusting to the area, and then Brandyn was suddenly killed.

"This wasn't just an ordinary kid. This was our son," Joe Starks said.

After Brandyn was hit, the driver took off.

"Where you went wrong was you left him, but you can make this right, because there is forgiveness in heaven for you, and Brandyn would forgive you, so I'm asking you to show my son the same decency," Brandy Starks said.

They're pleading with the driver to come forward.

"We need closure. My son deserves that," Joe Starks said.

About the Author:

Koco joined the Local 4 News team in September of 2016. She was born and raised in Metro Detroit, attended Central Michigan University, and previously worked at WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids.