A Winnipeg community is grieving the loss of a 4-year-old child who, along with her mother, was hit by a vehicle Monday.

Police were called to the crash near the intersection of Isabel Street and Alexander Avenue just before noon. On Tuesday they said the child died in hospital.

Near the site of the crash, Tracy Mentuck told CTV News the two had recently moved to the neighbourhood.

“The little girl just started school here at Dufferin, and she’s in nursery. She’s my son’s friend, classmate, she just started school and I can’t believe – it’s just heartbreaking.”

The Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba, known as IRCOM, posted a statement offering condolences and praying for those who knew the child and her mother, who is still in hospital.

Dorota Blumczynska, the organization’s executive director said the family wishes to remain private at this time. She said they’re newcomers from Eritrea and were beginning to settle in the neighbourhood.

“I think they were running towards that dream together,” Blumczynska said.

She said she has been in contact with the father through the last three days.

“He’s very devastated and in huge shock.”

“It’s indescribable.”

Blumczynska mentioned that the family also has a 6-year-old son.

“I do know there's a beautiful, little boy,” she said. “And I know he needs his mother and his father.”

She said IRCOM is offering support services for everyone who are affected with the tragedy, and, “the family needs all of us to mourn with them.”

“It shouldn’t happen,” said Mentuck. “It shouldn’t have to happen to a little girl. She was sweet. She was motivated. She was like a little angel.”

Mentuck said she had only spoken with the mom a handful of times, but her son had connected with the pair during drop offs at the school.

“My son was always there to greet her in their language,” she said, adding she believed they came from the same country her son’s father had emigrated from.

“It’s hard for him right now,” Mentuck said, explaining that her son was aware of the crash, but hasn’t yet been told the girl has died.

“But I think he’s going to be really upset when I tell him she didn’t make it, that she’s gone to the spirit world, how we say it. But I think I’m going to bring my son back here, I’m going to stand here for a couple of minutes with me and my son, we’re going to light a candle, anything, bring a teddy bear, anything – just to know that her spirit is going.”

Other parents in the area said there’s been longstanding concerns with the intersection where the crash happened and people not paying attention to the cross walk there.

“My daughter almost got hit that very same morning because some old man was not paying attention. And the patrols were flagging him, and he just kept on going,” said Carol Muswagon, who said she felt like the incident could have happened to any of the families in the area.

“Now people are finally paying attention because somebody finally got hurt,” she said.

Mentuck, who struggled for words at times and said she was happy to have been able to know the little girl, said the incident has left her fearful.

“It’s kind of scary when you go out with your kids, or when you’re crossing. I’m scared to cross the street with my son because I don’t want anything to happen.”

Police seeking witnesses

Investigators believe several people may have witnessed the crash and are also asking anyone who may have been on the road to check dash cam or surveillance footage.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the traffic division at 204-986-7085.

Drivers are also reminded to be mindful and watch for pedestrians at crosswalks or other intersections.