Over 100 friends and family gathered for a candle light vigil at Ronald Reagan Sports Park in Temecula for 11-year-old Anthony Fowler, who died weeks after a dirt tunnel collapsed on top of him.
Fowler’s parents spoke exclusively to NBC7 San Diego.
“Nineteen plus years in the Marine Corps, multiple combat tours, you’ve seen brothers and Marines go, but you’re never prepared for losing a part of your family,” Anthony’s father, Fred Fowler said.
On February 4, Tyler Brown and Anthony Fowler were at a park, digging tunnels on the side of a dry river bed, when one collapsed.
“The roof came down on top of my head and a big rock landed on my chest and one pinned my arm down,” Tyler Brown said.
Brown struggled to get out and immediately went to his friend who was buried.
“I couldn’t really see him that well, only his feet. He kept screaming out for help. All I could make out was that he said he couldn’t breathe.”
Brown dug out Fowler’s head, while two adults helped pull off large rocks.
Fowler was in critical condition up until his death on February 13.
Last Monday, Temecula Youth Baseball lost a part of their team.
They hosted the vigil tonight, giving young players a chance to grieve, especially Brown.
“We did everything together. We were always together. Inseparable,” Brown said.
Brown’s mother recalled the days immediately after the accident.
“He would sit in the bathtub in all his clothes and cry and tell me he wished he was stronger. If he was stronger, Anthony would be here,” Ellen Brown said.
Fowler’s mother hopes Brown doesn’t ever carry any guilt.
“I want to make sure that Tyler understands that in our eyes, he’s a hero, for what he did to try and save his friend that day,” Gretchen Fowler said.