BROCKTON — It happened in an instant. One minute Sandra Barros was sitting inside the hair salon with her two little boys. The next, she was sprinting outside to where her youngest, 3-year-old Casiam Modesto, lay in a pool of blood after being hit by a car.
Family and friends on Saturday grieved for the boy whose life was cut short after a BMW hit him on Hervey Street near Main Street on Friday afternoon.
The accident marked the second in two weeks involving the death of a child. On a street just 2 miles away, a 12-year-old was struck by a car and killed Aug. 14 while celebrating his birthday on new roller skates.
In Friday’s incident, no criminal charges have been brought against the driver, who parked his car and stayed at the scene, according to the office of the Plymouth district attorney. Casiam was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a nearby hospital, said a spokesman for Massachusetts State Police, who are investigating.
Gathered at a relative’s house down the street from the accident site, family members, some breaking down in tears as they spoke, remembered Casiam as a happy child with a pearly-white smile. The sound of a priest’s chanting wafted through the open doors of the house, where dozens mourned the loss.
“He was always happy, playful,” said Maria Lopes, Barros’s sister and the boy’s godmother. She said Casiam loved “Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends,” a popular children’s TV series, and was wearing a shirt depicting the show’s main character on Friday.
“She’s devastated,” Milene Depina, another sister, said of Barros. “It happened so fast.”
Barros, 32, Casiam, and his 6-year-old brother lived in Brockton with a relative and her family.
Casiam was born in Brockton but Barros left him with his grandmother to move back to Cape Verde, where his father still lives, family said. She returned to Brockton last year to raise the children here.
Soon after arriving, she began frequenting the salon the family visited Friday, going monthly to get haircuts for herself and the boys, according to Luisa Barbosa, owner of the Green Light Unisex Beauty Salon.
The salon is popular among Brockton’s large Cape Verdean community, and on Saturday, the place was busy with dozens of people, most of whom spoke in Portuguese.
Barros and the grandmother had come Friday to get haircuts for Casiam and his 6-year-old brother, who at the time of the accident, was still in the barber’s seat, Barbosa said. The brother is devastated, family said.
Mayor Bill Carpenter visited Casiam’s family and offered his condolences, said Bob Buckley, a spokesman for the mayor.
“Right now, we are trying to provide comfort and sympathy to the family of the victim and we will continue to look into why there have been several accidents in the past few weeks,” Buckley said.
A small shrine of candles, teddy bears, and flowers set up Friday night continued to grow Saturday as many paused to pay their respects.
After lighting a tall, white candle, Rose Louis-Charles prayed and cried. She was walking with her daughter and niece when they saw the little boy and the stunned crowd that had formed around him.
A former nurse’s aide, Louis-Charles ran up to feel his pulse and yelled at the crowd to quiet down so she could concentrate. He was still conscious. She stroked his head and back for comfort.
He tried to speak but could not, she said. A few minutes later, he was whisked away by an ambulance with his grandmother and mother, who had been crying hysterically at the sight of her son.
“I felt so much for the mother,” said Louis-Charles, her voice breaking as she recalled the scene.
Herself a mother of a 6-year-old boy, she paused for breath. “I got in the street because I’m a mother too,” she said.
In the afternoon, Maria Brito, 43, stopped at the shrine with her two young children, ages 3 and 6. She paid her respects and then told her son, the oldest, that this was why he has to be cautious in the street.
“They need to take care,” she said.