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Prayer vigil held for tow truck driver killed after carjacking

HOUSTON – Friends, family and loved ones of a beloved Houston tow truck driver, Curtis Martin, held two prayer vigils Saturday to remember him.

The driver passed away Friday after an attempted tow truck jacking, according to Houston police.

Flowers, balloons, crosses and a teddy bear lined a part of Beechnut Street near Kirkwood in southwest Houston. It is the same area where Martin had lost his life.

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Investigators said Martin was dropping off a repossessed car with his tow truck in southwest Houston on Friday when he noticed his truck being driven away. Martin and another man jumped into the repossessed car and began to chase the thief. At a light, investigators said Martin and the man got out to confront the thief, when police say that thief ran over Martin, killing him.

Curtis Martin – also known as Deray Sergio Martinez
Curtis Martin – also known as Deray Sergio Martinez

Police said the man who stole the tow truck was 27-year-old Jonathan Nguyen, who is now faced with capital murder. His charges were officially announced in Probable Cause Court on Saturday.

While Martin’s loved ones wait for justice, the corner of Beechnut and Kirkwood, where Martin lost his life, was filled with prayer. The prayer vigil was organized by Martin’s towing community.

“We’re all brothers and it’ll always be that way,” said Sam Medina, a friend of Martin’s for 30 years. “We’re a brotherhood, just like fire departments and police departments. We’re a brotherhood because we’re in this tow truck business together.”

More than 15 wrecker trucks filled a parking lot near the intersection.

“This is where the incident happened, so we figured this was the best way to come out here and pay respects to his family,” said organizer and friend Mark Rodriguez.

His fellow wrecker drivers, loved ones and family stood in a half circle around the cross and flowers put alongside the road. Leading the prayer was Pastor Joel Hernandez, who was the first tow truck driver on scene the day Martin died.

“You don’t realize it’s going to be one of your friends or one of your co-workers,” Hernandez said. “I did the best that I can, and now it’s in God’s hands.”

The mother of Martin’s children, Laqueta Robison, said the victim was an exceptional father of 12 and a hard worker.

“He loved his job. He was dedicated to his job,” Robison said.

The towing community called him their “tow brother,” and said he would never be forgotten.

“(Martin was) always willing to help. He never asked for anything in return except for friendship. That’s all he ever wanted,” said Robbie Rogers, friend and wrecker driver.

“I’ve been in the business for about 32 years -- known Curtis for about 30. He would give his life for anybody. He helped anybody and everybody before he helped himself,” Medina said.

Another vigil was planned for 7 p.m. Saturday at the same place -- the intersection of Kirkwood Road and Beechnut Street in southwest Houston.

Loved ones created this GoFundMe page to help the family.