WEST JORDAN, Utah (ABC4) – In a sea of flowers and cards, Jackson Sanders, 13, brought a video game for his friend, 13-year-old Eli Mitchell to a memorial on Wednesday night in West Jordan.
“We used to argue over which is better, PS4 or Xbox. He always used to say Xbox,” said Sanders.
Jackson has known Eli since he was 7-years-old.
Visiting the intersection where police say Eli was killed in a hit-and-run crash on Wednesday is painful enough — going to school is even harder. Police say Eli died while doing two of his favorite things — riding his bikes and enjoying treats.
“I knew him pretty well,” said Sanders. “I was really sad when I figured out he died. I never thought he would die this early.”
Eli was a student at West Jordan Middle School. The middle school told ABC4 they have counselors available for students.
“My first day of school today without him, it felt really weird without him, seeing his empty seat,” said Sanders.
The school released a statement saying in part, “Eli is a beloved member of our school and will be dearly missed. Our hearts are with Eli’s family, friends, and loved ones at this difficult time.”
Eli’s family is mourning in private, but released a statement about the boy they knew and loved, remembering how he loved the outdoors, was very close to his sister and loved playing video games with his friends.
“It’s kind of hard to focus right now,” said Sanders. “Knowing that one friend that you’ve had for a long time who won’t be there anymore,” said Sanders.
Coming to terms with what happened, Sanders hopes Eli knows what’s in his heart.
“I would have told him that there’s a lot of people that care about him and that love him and that he died too early,” said Sanders.