BROOKLYN — The 13-year-old boy killed by a hit-and-run driver in Bensonhurst over the weekend was a "nice kid" who loved to play soccer and was looking forward to starting high school in the fall, family and friends said.
Henry Garcia was riding his bicycle on 78th Street Saturday just blocks from his apartment when he fell near 8009 20th Ave., police said. He was then struck by a green Ford Explorer that fled the scene and cops are still hunting for the driver.
A memorial was set up near the deadly scene Monday as Garcia's family struggled to come to terms with the fatal accident.
"I told him to go home and be careful," said the teen's older brother, Antonio Garcia, 16, who was paying his bills with Henry just before the incident and told him to ride home safely.
"I don't know why he decided to go into the street."
The older brother said he called his cousin later to check in on Henry, only to find out about the crash.
"I couldn't believe it," Antonio said.
He said that he and his brother were inseparable, adding he doesn't know what he will do without him.
"I'm lost and confused," he said. "I can't imagine that he's gone. I don't even know what I'm going to do right now."
Antonio explained that the eighth-grader enjoyed playing soccer and going to school at IS 96 on Avenue P and was excited to start his freshman year at James Madison High School.
"He was a nice person," he said. "He was just a nice kid."
Neighbors were also stunned by the hit-and-run.
"It was shocking," said Paul Carrano, 34, an accountant who owns CTA Tax Advisors on 20th Avenue and saw the aftermath of the crash. "I just hope they catch the guy."
Antonio Garcia also wants the driver caught, but said it won't make up for the loss of his brother.
"If they catch [the driver], OK," he said. "Even if they catch [the driver], my brother's not going to come back."