The flag hangs at half-mast Thursday at El Camino Real High School as crisis counselors help students and staff cope with the sudden death of 10th-grader Patrick Angelo Demesa.
"It's tremendously difficult. Everybody needs to grieve in their own way. It's just a tragic loss," said school principal Dave Fehte. "From what we understand, Patrick was just crossing the street, wasn't doing anything wrong."
Police say the 15-year-old was simply crossing the street at Ventura Blvd. and Kelvin Ave. Wednesday afternoon, when a woman driving a green 2005 Kia ran a red light and hit Demesa, killing him. She then crashed into a Buick making a left turn out of the nearby Target store, pushing it into a third car, a burgundy Lexus.
Outdoor surveillance cameras at the Target store captured the accident on tape.
Store employee Cathy Steinhauser watched that video.
"I wanted to go grab that kid and just hold him," said Steinhauser. "He wasn't doing anything wrong. He was doing what every 15-year-old kid should be doing: crossing the street. He should be safe doing that."
Friends of the family said Patrick Demesa's routine almost every day after school was to grab a drink at the Target store, then cross the street, using the crosswalk. He would then come to the building across the street where his mother works, and from there they would share the drive home.
"He had his little soda and his little laptop and his backpack and his shoes, and he's not going home. It's heart-wrenching," said eyewitness Carla Matassa.
The driver of the Kia was taken to a local hospital after the accident, where she later died. Police are not releasing her identity until they contact family members. Police did say she was a 42-year-old woman with a known address in the Valley. However, it's not clear if that was her permanent address.