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Teen leaving church killed in Vermont Square hit-and-run

September 14, 2013|By Michael Finnegan

A 16-year-old boy was struck and killed by a car Friday night in a hit-and-run outside a South L.A. church where he had just attended a meeting of a youth group, authorities said.

Police were searching Saturday for the driver of the white Nissan Maxima that hit Nathaniel Mota, a teenager whose family had long been active at the church, Iglesia Catolica Santa Cecilia on South Normandie Avenue near West 42nd Street, they said.

But police had no description of the suspect, Officer Rosario Herrera said. Paramedics pronounced Mota dead at the scene. The Los Angeles County coroner’s office confirmed the victim's identity.

Mota was an usher at the church, which serves many Mexican and Central American immigrants, said Fernando Rivera, who works in the church office on weekends. Mota, who would have turned 17 on Wednesday, was a former student at the church’s school, and he often attended the English-language Mass, Rivera said.

“He was a good kid,” he said.

A number of church groups were breaking up when the incident occurred, so some people were gathered outside the church when Mota was hit. Rivera, who not present, said the car appeared to be moving fast, because Mota’s body wound up about four car lengths beyond the point where he was struck.

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Twitter: @finneganlatimes

michael.finnegan@latimes.com

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