STOCKTON (CBS13) — A man known to many people in the community has died after being hit by a car.
Police are now turning to the community for help in finding that vehicle, which they believe struck Jesus Madrid.
A black hoodie sweatshirt, a Mexican flag and a handful of candles sit where Ernie Aguila lost his longtime friend.
“I think it was a tragedy, an absolute tragedy, I mean he never harmed anyone,” he said.
Police say Madrid, 66, was hit by a car on East Main Street, near Searchlight Avenue at around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. He later died at a nearby hospital.
“I think he was an icon here, believe it or not, you know, everybody knew him, it seemed like,” said Aguila.
Stockton Police are now looking for a white GM Trailblazer, an S-10 Blazer or an Oldsmobile Bravada. Surveillance footage in the area caught the suspect car near the scene when Madrid was hit.
“When you drive away from a collision, you’re involved in a crime, at that point, in a hit and run. So that is why right now our traffic investigators released that photograph, because unfortunately, in this case, someone did die, and we need to figure out exactly why that driver drove away,” said Joe Silva with the Stockton Police Department.
Friends knew Madrid as “Chuey.” They often saw him hanging out around the supermercado, which is located feet away from where his memorial has been set up.
“I think this is bad. Having to die in this manner is very sad. Cars drive so fast they don’t realize what’s in front of them,” said friend, Robert Quiroc.
Friends say Madrid had past drug problems and recently became homeless, but was working on getting back on his feet.
“As far as drug use goes, he had over three years clean. He’s attended a program here in town because I picked him up every morning for it,” said friend, Cliff Andresen.
Friends say Madrid always tried to bring happiness into people’s lives. He often gave back to those in need, even though he didn’t have much to give.
“He was loved, he was a good friend. He was always there for you,” said friend Alex Maloney.
Investigators say if someone does recognize the vehicle in the picture, they are urged to contact the Stockton Police Department.