Candlelight vigil held for 13-year-old shot multiple times

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) There were prayers, flowers, balloons and songs at a candlelight vigil held Wednesday evening for 13-year-old Cortez Batiste, whose body was found early Tuesday along the railroad tracks just south of the 1500 block of East Brundage Lane.

He had been shot multiple times.

"Only God has me standing here strong to go through this for him," said the boy's mother, Tasha Batiste.

The family is originally from Louisiana, and Cortez came to Bakersfield in 2011.

He was an eighth-grade student at Curran Middle School. He was described as a fun-loving student who liked to play jokes.

"I'm not saying that my son is perfect or he didn't do nothing bad, but I still feel that he didn't deserve this," said his mother.

No arrests have been made in the case, and police have not said whether gang activity or drugs were involved.

The shooting of a young teen touched a nerve with community members.

Many in attendance at the vigil, held near the site where the boy's body was found, did not personally know Cortez.

Faith Mozeke Heath was among those attending, along with her two children. Heath experienced her own tragedy recently when a drunk driver crashed into her vehicle, killing her two-year old daughter.

"I just felt compelled to come and speak to (the mother) and just comfort her in any way," said Heath.

Asked if she forgives the person responsible for killing her son, Tasha Batiste said that she is praying for the person who shot her son.