They came alone and in groups on Friday, carrying sorrow and anger to the Santa Rosa crosswalk where an unlicensed hit-and-run driver struck a 4-year-old boy who later died.
"His parents must be devastated," said Alma Rodriguez, who came with her teenage daughter to "show our respect to the family."
She and others brought flowers and stuffed animals and called for safety measures at the busy West Ninth Street and Rockwell Place intersection.
"I worry so much," said Maria Gomez, 35, who has three children, aged 3 to 9, and lives in an apartment complex that looks over the intersection.
"I'd like to see them put a light there, or at least a stop sign, because people respect those."
Police said the suspect, Marcos Lopez Garcia, 22, was cited for driving without a license less than a week before Thursday's accident about 6 p.m. He is suspected of plowing through the crosswalk and hitting the boy as he crossed the street with his mother and sisters.
The boy, a Brush Creek Nursery School student whom police have yet to identify, died Friday morning at Oakland Children's Hospital.
"It's absolutely tragic," said Julie MacDonald, the school's director, describing him as a "sweet, sensitive, mild-mannered...boy who would crawl up in your lap and want some hugging, lots of loving."
She declined to name the boy.
Garcia was cited once for unlicensed driving last year and then again last SaturdayAug. 13, , when he was ordered not to drive, Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Rich Celli said Friday.
On Thursday, Garcia, who lives just a few blocks away from Lincoln School and adjoining Jacobs Park, was heading westbound on four-lane West Ninth Street as a Santa Rosa woman and her three young children were in the crosswalk headed to soccer practice, Celli said.
The driver in the inner westbound lane stopped. But Garcia kept going, smacking the youngster so hard he flew about 30 feet, police said.
"Most cars don't ever stop for the pedestrians," said Juan Parra, 20, a nearby resident who stood by one of two impromptu memorials that sprang up Friday. He was among more than a dozen people who made the same complaint and said the intersection is known in the neighborhood as a dangerous one.
The boy had been lagging behind his mother, who was urging him on, and two sisters, one 8 and the other his 4-year-old twin, who were nearly if not already across the street when he was struck, Celli said.
Four white circles a dozen or more feet apart, painted by police technicians, showed where the boy was thrown after he was hit.
"He crashed right there, then he rolled over, then he slammed right there," said Luis Huesca, 11, a fifth grader at Lincoln Elementary School, who said he saw the accident.
"We need a flasher or a stoplight," Huesca said.
The hatchmarked crosswalk is marked by a fluorescent green pedestrian sign without the special overhead flasher of the type that marks the crosswalk in front of the school about one-tenth of a mile further west on West Ninth.
Besides a stop sign at Link Lane about a tenth of a mile east, the closest signal lights are at Stony Point Road and Dutton Road, almost a mile apart.