Vigil held in Brooklyn to honor construction worker shot on lunch break

Naveen Dhaliwal Image
Saturday, September 17, 2022
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A candlelight vigil was held in Brooklyn to honor the memory of a construction worker who was killed. Naveen Dhaliwal has more.

WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A candlelight vigil was held in Brooklyn to honor the memory of a construction worker who was killed.

Ronnie Ortiz was killed in East New York on Wednesday as he took a lunch break. Friday would have been his 31st birthday. Now, his family wants justice.

Lanterns lit the sky, as friends and family remembered Ortiz.

"He was always ready to give a hug - he had an infectious smile," said friend John Condon.

They gathered, laughed and cried.

"He was a gentleman on and off the field," said high school coach Melvin Martinez.

It was the same softball field in McCarren Park where Ortiz once played, and where their number 21 made others laugh.

On Friday, what was supposed to be Ortiz's birthday, his family was focused on celebrating him.

"This should never have happened to someone so young, so good," said aunt Sarah Crandall.

In a community that loved him so much, they are all asking the same question - why did this happen?

"It doesn't make any sense. The kid went to work every day. The kid never got mad at anybody, and we can't figure it out," said teammate Allen Boseman.

While police do their work to find Ortiz's killer, those close to him are focusing on his lasting legacy and his impact on the world.

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