Family searching for answers after 25-year-old killed by hit and run driver


FRESNO, California (KSEE) – A Fresno family is searching for answers after their loved one was killed by a hit and run driver the day after Christmas.

Police continue to search for the driver who left the scene. They say the driver hit and killed 25-year-old Jesse Lazalde around 3 a.m. on Golden State Boulevard North of Church Avenue in Fresno.

RELATED: Police search for pickup truck after fatal hit and run

On Monday, family and friends laid Lazalde to rest.

“I’m not going to say he was an angel, but he was my angel,” said Jesse’s father Jesse Gonzales.

A dinner was held at the American Legion where loved ones remembered the life cut short.

“My love for him is always going to continue. No matter what happens he will never be forgotten,” said Gonzales.

“My heart is empty. I love my children but I loved Jesse as my child,” said Jesse’s sister-in-law Julia Bracamonte.

Bracamonte texted him that night asking when he’s coming home. Her question wasn’t answered until the next morning.

“When I was looking for him his dad called me and told me he passed and that was the most hurtful thing I’ve ever felt in my entire life,” said Bracamonte.

The Fresno High School graduate helped his father with the family business.

“Anyone needed help paying a bill. Anyone needed help fixing a car, anyone needed help buying children school clothes, he was there,” said Bracamonte.

As police search for the driver of this truck, Jesse’s family searches for closure.

“I ask that the driver not torment themself the rest of their life. Whatever they are going to face for what has been done is nothing compared to what they will face hiding all these years,” said Bracamonte.

Jesse may never make it home, but his father says he never left.

“He always will be beside me,” said Gonzales.

Police said the vehicle is a light-colored full-size 4-door pickup with a round nerf bar and a front off-road light bar. 

The light bar is approximately three feet long and is mounted on the lower bumper. The vehicle suspension is lifted with larger off-road tires and last seen traveling westbound on Church from Cherry Avenue.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Michael Buessing at (559) 621-5066 or Detective Andrew Rochin at (559) 621-5065.

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