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North Park man killed in hit-and-run collision remembered as 'beacon' in LGBT community

North Park man killed in hit-and-run collision remembered as 'beacon' in LGBT community
Posted at 4:04 PM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-22 20:37:29-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A North Park man killed in a hit-and-run collision is being remembered as a ‘beacon’ in the local LGBT community.

"He’s always happy. He’s always in a good mood,” said Eric Shayna.

Friends say 58-year-old Dmitry von Hunter was his usual joyful self, as he hung out with friends at a bar in North Park on September 7.

Around midnight, he left and halfway into his three-block walk home, police say he was walking east on University Avenue, when he was hit by this vehicle in the intersection at Mississippi Street.

Investigators say the car took off. Von Hunter was taken to a hospital, where he died a day later.

“It was very tough … I’m in bed, crying. It was painful,” said Shayna.

Shayna says von Hunter, who worked as a realtor, was well-known and well-loved.

“Dmitry was a beacon in the LGBT community,” said Shayna.

Shayna says his friend was known for connecting people. Von Hunter helped him make friends after he moved to the area more than four years ago.

“Dmitry wanted to know everybody and wanted everybody else to know everybody,” said Shayna.

Days after his death, his friends held a memorial for him. Two weeks later after he passed, the details of his death remain upsetting.

“The driver essentially treated Dmitry like an animal and left him to die, and didn’t stop to help him,” said Shayna.

Shayna now making an appeal for tips, along with an appeal to the driver.

“Come forward, because you need to own up to your mistakes … It’s justice for Dmitry. It’s justice for the LGBT community and his family as well," said Shayna.

The suspect's car is described as a light-colored, 2-door or 4-door vehicle with large chrome wheels. The car may have light to moderate damage on its front bumper, hood and windshield.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at 888-580-8477.

A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses.