CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A boy who was hit and killed by a car Thursday night in front of McClintock Middle School was out with his siblings for his brother's 14th birthday, the victim's grandfather said.
“Right now, we’re holding on,” said Romello Wilcox's grandfather, Warren Curry. “We’re holding on.”
Curry said the 11-year-old boy was a quiet child.
“Quiet guy,” Curry said. “He reminded me a whole lot of myself when I was younger.”
Curry said Romello enjoyed hanging out with his two older brothers. One of them goes to McClintock and was with Romello when he died.
“I just asked him a few minutes ago, ‘How is it going to be going to school by yourself?’ and he said, ‘It’s going to be hard,’” Curry said.
Family members said Romello wanted to celebrate his brother’s birthday with him.
“Him and Xavier came to a basketball game at their school,” Curry said.
Family members said when they were returning home, Romello and Xavier were followed by several other children.
"The one young man pushed my grandson or punched him, or something, and Romello said, ‘I'm not going to take that,' and that's when he left,’" Curry said.
A neighbor said she saw Romello and his brother running from a group of kids when he was hit by the car.
“All I know is that whatever their intentions, they were trying to scare my grandson,” Curry said. “He’s not a fighter, and he can’t talk his way out of it.”
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department detectives charged an 11-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl Friday in Romello's death.
Police said a fight between the three happened along Rama Road, which is why the boy was in the road when the car hit him. The two children were charged with involuntary manslaughter.
The driver of the car was not charged and police said they were going the speed limit.
“All I know is that they caused some heavy hearts,” Curry said. “We have heavy hearts because of them.”
Family members lit candles and left balloons at the scene Saturday night.
"Our principal said we had to get our parents to come pick us up, because it was bad. But then she just told me he died,” classmate Jazale Walker said. “He didn't make it, and I started crying."
Channel 9 spoke with a neighbor who heard the sirens and came out to see what happened.
"Devastating, it's heartbreaking," neighbor Eric Heil said. "There's no way to even wrap your head around it. Heard a firetruck and then ambulance and then more sirens, and they just kept coming and coming, so I stepped outside and I knew something serious had happened."
The wife of the driver said her husband was very upset, and that the boy darted out in front of the car. The driver was taken to the hospital because his blood pressure spiked.
Neighbors told Channel 9's Elsa Gillis it is not uncommon for students to be walking to and from the school and crossing the road.
But at the time of night when the crash happened, neighbors said the area is dark.
"In the dark, I mean, just it's hard. I felt bad," neighbor Mary Bruce said. "It is a dark area. It's not well lit."
"Ripple effects for the kids and the school and the parents and the community will last for everybody for the rest of their lives so just let them know that the community is here for them and thinking about them," Heil said.
The road was completely blocked off during the investigation.
Police did not release the names of the two charged because of their ages.
The school sent the following message to parents on Friday morning:
"Good morning McClintock families. I want to inform you that counselors will be available at our school today for any student who needs to speak with someone about the tragic loss of a student. We understand some students handle and process grief in various ways. Please be observant of any changes in behavior and feel free to seek assistance if needed. We will have counselors available as long as needed. Thank you for your support of McClintock Middle school."
This is an ongoing investigation. Check back with wsoctv.com for more information.
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