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Driver sought in fatal hit-run in Canoga Park

July 18, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Police are asking for the public's help to find a hit-and-run driver who killed a Canoga Park man Friday night.

The man was crossing Saticoy Street near Jordan Avenue about 11 p.m. when he was struck by a large vehicle heading west. The impact knocked him 128 feet.

On Monday, Irma Gomez collapsed to the floor demanding to know why someone would run over her brother, 52-year-old Gabriel Ambriz, then left him in the street to die.

"Why did they kill him?" Gomez said in Spanish. "He was younger than me. He was a hard-working man."

Police said the vehicle may have been a white Dodge Durango or pick-up truck with a camper shell.

They say the driver hit Ambriz, stopped briefly, but then fled the scene.

"Witnesses stated that the pedestrian was approximately just past the double-yellow lines when he was struck by the vehicle," said Officer Holly Fredo of the Los Angeles Police Department. "There was a little bit of debris left at the scene so the vehicle is definitely damaged."

Ambriz was transported to a hospital where he later died.

Ambriz's sister said her brother was a hard-working man who helped support her family. His friends said he would work odd jobs and collect recycling to help make ends meet.

"He was always like a little pet, always behind her," said Soloman Cortez, a friend of Ambriz. "Always helping her with the laundry, around the house."

Police are talking to area residents hoping someone might be able to provide a better description of the suspect's vehicle.

"As people we're supposed to care about each other, we're supposed to stop and help each other," Fredo said. "If you accidentally strike somebody, you just compound the situation by leaving."

Anyone with information is asked to call the LAPD at (877) 527-3247.

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