BROCKTON — As authorities tried to determine how a tractor-trailer struck and killed a 12-year-old on rollerblades, family and friends mourned the loss of a boy they called a goodhearted, cheerful young athlete.
“The family is just in utter shock,” Keana Baptiste, 18, a childhood friend, said Friday of the boy, who was fatally struck Thursday in Brockton. “I don’t know how to process it. I think I’m still going to see him if I go to his house.”
Dozens of candles burned Friday afternoon just feet from where Nazair Nunes-Escobar of Brockton died on his 12th birthday. The rollerblades he wore had been a gift from his family.
A spokeswoman for Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz said authorities were still investigating the accident, which took place in front of 35 Battles St.
According to Cruz’s office, the driver of the tractor trailer, which is registered to M.J. Cimildoro Trucking in Hanover, stopped at the scene. The driver, identified by State Police as a 33-year-old Hanover man, has not been charged with a crime or cited for any violations.
The company that owns the trailer being hauled, Spiegel South Shore Scrap Metal of Brockton, was cited by State Police Friday for excessive air loss rate from the truck’s brake system, and a cracked lift hinge assembly frame, spokesman David Procopio said in a statement.
State Police also notified Spiegel and the driver of other violations, including three inoperable lamps on the trailer and an inoperative horn, but they were not cited.
It was unclear whether the issues cited were factors in the accident. Cruz’s office did not return a call requesting comment Friday afternoon.
While the investigation continues, so does the mourning.
Nunes-Escobar was supposed to begin seventh grade at Oscar F. Raymond Elementary School next month.
“He was a very nice kid,’’ said Jocelyn Meek, spokeswoman for the Brockton public schools. “He had a very nice smile and a great sense of humor. They are very sad at the Raymond today.’’
One classmate, Andriana Baptiste, 13, placed a red rose and a candle at the makeshift memorial near the crash scene. Nunes-Escobar, she said, was “a good kid.”
Neighbors described the boy as a cheerful fixture at the Roosevelt Heights apartment complex where he lived, always smiling and joking. One neighbor said he was outside 12 hours a day. Another said the boy, already strong at 12, would have become a great athlete.
Justin Bowers, who lives two doors down from the boy’s family, watched him grow up.
“He was a good kid who played with all the other kids around here,” said Bowers, 30, standing on his porch. “He was just like any other young boy growing up who got into mischief, but he still respected the morals his parents tried to raise him with.”
The boy loved to play with Bowers’s dogs and often helped his neighbor’s elderly mother with chores. His little sister often tagged along, filled with admiration for her brother.
Bowers said trucks often use Battles Street, but accidents like the one on Thursday, he said, should never happen.
“Whether that’s a truck route or not, you’re in a residential area. You should be paying attention to the road a million times more,” he said.
Teddy bears were piled up at the memorial Friday, some with rosaries draped over their fluffy ears.
Scattered among burning candles were bunches of yellow roses, a video game controller, and baseball medal reading “RIP NAZ.” A ‘Birthday Boy’ balloon bounced in the wind.
Nunes-Escobar loved video games, a 21-year-old cousin said, her voice barely audible over the roar of passing trucks. She had driven by the chaotic scene Thursday, wondering what was going on. She did not know that it was her cousin who lay under a white sheet.
“He was a happy little boy,” she said, declining to be named. “He was so adorable, his face.”
Remembrances written in children’s blockish script decorated the family’s apartment.
“We love you, never forgoten,” read a note from Denzel.
“Im am so disoponted because you left us,” wrote Tashawn. “But now you are an angel.”John R. Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Claire McNeill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @clairemcneill.