San Diego

Family of Chula Vista Hit-and-Run Victim Pleads for Help to Find Suspect

Rafael Cruz Fermin, 42, was hit and killed while crossing Broadway around 6:30 p.m. Sunday

Family members of a man struck and killed in Chula Vista Sunday are asking  for the public’s help in finding the person responsible for the hit-and-run collision.

Rafael Cruz Fermin, 42, was struck by a vehicle while crossing Broadway around 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

“He didn't have to die. He was a father and husband. Come forward and say something," said Fermin’s wife, Gina Mateo.

She said her world turned upside down after the hit-and-run that took her husband's life. Now, the family is left with nothing but frustration and pain.

“How could someone live with themselves, knowing what they did to my husband, leaving him in the rain," Mateo explained through tears.

Fermin’s family described him as a talented artist who loved to cook and listen to the music of Bob Marley. Some of their favorite childhood memories were taking trips to the ocean together.

He was stepfather to Jacqueline Thorpe, Jericca Thorpe and David Frausto, but the family said he always treated them as his own children.

"He loved me. He loved the kids. He was an awesome person. We loved him," Mateo said.

Frausto remembered what an impact Fermin had on his life, adding that he always supported him, and was by his side for one of his biggest accomplishments--graduating high school.

"He gave me the best life lessons. I will not forget him. He may be gone physically, but he's not forgotten. He's always in our hearts," said Frausto.

On Tuesday, Chula Vista police said they have surveillance video that shows the suspect vehicle. A 2002 to 2005 Ford Explorer, possibly red in color, was involved in the crash, police said. The car may have damage to the head light.

If you have any information, you are asked to call Chula Vista Police at (619) 422-8477 or contact Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral costs.

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