MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A tribute was held Thursday night for a South Florida teenager hit and killed when he apparently rode his bicycle into the path of a Highway Patrol trooper.
A broken father fights through tears as he remembers a dapper cadet in uniform.
“If you want to talk I’m here for everybody because that’s what Angel would do and I want to be here for you too,” said the boy’s father.
His son Angel Lopez died Friday night as he tried biking across a busy Killian Parkway.
He was hit and killed by a Florida Highway Patrol cruiser, a nine-year veteran trooper behind the wheel.
Angel was just 17 years old.
“When I found out, everything just came crashing down,” his father said.
Angel’s girlfriend Abby says they talked about sharing their lives together.
Angel was in JROTC and wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps as a career soldier.
“I loved him so much and I know he loved me too,” Abby said.
His younger cousin struggled to comprehend Angel’s sudden death and could barely think about going to his funeral in the morning.
“I was heartbroken when I heard about it, I just didn’t want to show it,” she said.
Angel’s army instructor Jose Roman, one of the many people wearing Angel’s favorite color orange, says this isn’t the first time he’s lost a cadet.
While he only knew Angel for three years, he could tell the boy had a lot of potential.
“Great kid,” Roman said. “Continue to do what he was doing down here.”
Many say the teen was an angel here on earth and was only missing his wings.
Over a hundred people came out for Angel’s vigil and his family is expecting an even larger turnout at his funeral Friday morning.