Members of the Bronx community held a vigil last week for the woman who was tragically struck and killed by a cop car earlier this month.
On Oct. 5, 20-year-old Sofia Gomez was hit by an NYPD vehicle near Wallace Avenue and Pelham Parkway. According to the NYPD, the police were en route to help fellow officers on another call at the Throggs Neck Bridge when the incident took place. Three days later, she succumbed to her injuries and died.
The mood was somber as her cousin Roberto Perez spoke about Gomez. The young woman, who had only lived in the neighborhood for a few months, was on her way home from work when her death occurred.
“We still cannot believe this happened,” Perez said.
The family has created a GoFundMe page to help pay for the costs of the funeral and transporting her body back her native Guatemala. So far, it has raised more than $3,000.
“Like all of us, she came to America for a better life, to help her family and realize her dreams,” the GoFundMe said. “We ask for your help in raising donations for the family to help with the expenses of laying her to rest.”
Ralph Vasquez was sitting outside not too far from the collision when it took place. He was facing the other direction when the car hit her, but stood up to stretch his legs and heard the screech of the tires.
As a retired paralegal who dealt with personal injury, he was surprised the that the drivers who witnessed it were not stopped for statements. Vasquez also did not recall hearing police sirens at the time of the crash.
“Don’t you think if she heard a siren from that end she wouldn’t have kept going?” he asked. “She would have stopped.”
The family hired lawyer John Giacobbe to investigate the incident and seek punitive damages against the NYPD. Giacobbe told the Bronx Times his office is awaiting discovery and it will be a lengthy process.
“Today’s a day for the family to get some sort of closure,” he said. “They have to walk across the street their sister just died on. The video once you see it, it stays with you. I have nightmares about it.”
The death is also being investigated by New York Attorney General Letitia James.