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Family begs driver in hit-and-run that killed teen to come forward: 'He didn't deserve what he got'

Family and friends of 15-year-old Quartez Mender are pleading with the hit-and-run driver to surrender.

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — No one at a vigil Wednesday night could understand understand the circumstances surrounding the tragic hit-and-run that killed a 15-year-old boy early that morning.

Especially not Quartez Mender’s mother, Malaika Kulenga, who stood sobbing as friends supported her. And not Mender's grandmother, aching, in pain

“An evil person has killed him and drove off!" his grandmother said at the vigil.

Someone, at around 2 a.m., drove into Quartez, as he was walking on the sidewalk along busy Flat Shoals Parkway in DeKalb County, just outside the Perimeter -- leaving him to die and leaving his sister trembling without him.

"Right now, I'm numb,” she said. “I don't know how to feel. I just ask whoever hit my brother, come forward."

Everyone calls him “Tez.” Everyone talks of how loving he was, always laughing, and always telling them that when he grew up, he was going to be a lawyer.

RELATED: Teen walking on busy DeKalb County road struck and killed, driver leaves

"Tez would have been 16 on September 13," said Kulenga, weeping for him.

She speaks of wanting justice, and wanting to understand that driver.

"Even if you didn't know what you hit, you know you hit something,” she said. “And you might have not checked on him, but you checked on your car."

Credit: WXIA
Malaika Kulenga

Her son, she said, had snuck out of the house in the middle of the night, and was just steps away from their home when the driver hit him.

"Of course, every child has their ways,” she said. “And he was one. But he didn't deserve what he got. He didn't deserve to be left like that."

People at the vigil lit candles and votives and arranged them on the sidewalk where Tez died. They stood silently as traffic roared by. Then they released helium balloons, saying in unison, “We love you, Tez!"

Tez's mother is hoping someone who knows something will call DeKalb County Police; she is hoping the driver will decide to come forward.

Credit: WXIA
Malaika Kulenga, at a vigil for her son, Quartez Mender, who was killed by a hit and run driver

"Whoever it is,” she said, and then paused, and then softly spoke from her heart, "I pray for him."

DeKalb County Police believe the car would have damage on the right front side. They are checking security cameras at businesses in the area to see if any of them captured any images of the car or driver.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family in their time of grief.

Police are asking anyone who knows something to call the DeKalb County Traffic Specialist Unit, 770-724-7610. Or they can call Crime Stoppers Atlanta to leave anonymous tips and qualify for a possible reward, 404-577-TIPS (577-8477)


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