Texas boy hit and killed by truck as students hold a walkout to protest gun violence
Jonathan Benko, the victim, was with another group of students who left the school building from a side exit, which did not have any additional security.
An 11-year-boy boy from Texas succumbed to his injuries after he was hit by a truck on Wednesday during a school walkout to protect gun violence. Reports state that the boy, Jonathan Benko, was not participating in the walkout, however, he was with a group of 12 to 15 students who were at a nearby park as the Parkland Middle School walkout took place in El Paso.
The students were reportedly crossing a highway in front of the school when the boy was hit by a Ford F-150.
Jonathan was rushed to the nearby University Medical Center (UMC) where he was later declared dead. The boy's mother, Ashley, reportedly works as a registered nurse at the medical facility's emergency department. El Paso Police Department's Sergeant Robert Gomez said that the driver of the Ford was not charged in the incident as it is not legal to walk on a highway.
Gomez, while addressing a news conference, said: "It is illegal to walk on a highway. It's next to impossible for motorists to move out of the way of pedestrians on the roadway and that's why it's a restricted passage."
One of Jonathan's friends, a 14-year-old eighth grader, Angela Rodriguez, called the boy a "free spirit," according to El Paso Times. "He was fun to be around, always lighting up the room. He played the violin. He was very good. He was one of the best ones in the class," Rodriguez added.
The accident reportedly occurred when hundreds of students across the country participated in multiple school walkouts to protest gun violence.
Reports state that the Parkland Middle School officials had employed additional security at the front and back of the school for students participating in the walkout. However, the Ysleta Independent School District Superintendent, Xavier De La Torre, said that Jonathan was with another group of students who left the school building from a side exit, which did not have any additional security, according to reports.
The student protests were triggered after the Florida school shooting on February 14. A 19-year-old former student Marjory Stoneman High School, Nikolas Cruz, opened fire on the campus with his legally-bought AR-15 rifle, killing 17 people. The victims mostly included students and teachers. The survivors of the carnage triggered a nationwide movement called "Never Again," calling for lawmakers across the country to tighten gun control legislation.