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Heartbroken family asks the public for help after man killed in hit skip

Posted at 5:30 PM, Mar 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-18 18:22:52-04

CLEVELAND — The family of the man who was hit and killed while crossing West 25th Street Friday is pleading for help from the public.

Camilo Gabriel, 67, was crossing at the intersection of West 25th Street and Woodbridge Avenue when police said he was hit and killed by someone driving a white SUV, possibly a Chevy Trailblazer, with tinted windows and temporary tags.

While Cleveland police work to find the SUV and the driver, his family is pleading for help.

"For me, it’s like a bad dream," Camilo Gabriel's wife, Vilma Gabriel, said.

She was crossing the street with her husband when he was hit and killed.

They were on their way to a doctor’s appointment and in an instant, he was gone.

“He opened his eyes, I said 'Camilo don’t leave me, don’t leave me, please don’t leave me,'” said Gabriel with tears streaming down her face.

Gabriel said she believes the driver was distracted by his cell phone.

She is heartbroken.

“He took my life, he took my dreams,” said Gabriel.

Camilo Gabriel is described as a wonderful, giving person with a big heart.

“He always put other people before him,” said his granddaughter Ilyse Gabriel.

His final act of kindness, Vilma Gabriel said, was saving her life.

“He saved my life, if he didn’t push me out of the way, we would both be dead,” she said.

The couple would have celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary on Thursday.

Instead, Gabriel is planning her husband’s funeral.

The family is pleading for the driver to come forward and turn himself in.

The family is also asking that anyone who has information about the SUV or the driver, call Cleveland Police at 216-621-1234.