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Dozens Gather for Candlelight Vigil in Memory of Robert Hassler Jr.

Hassler Jr. "died doing what he loved."

Robert Hassler Jr. would have wanted his friends and family to grab their motorcycles and go for a quick spin on this crisp, still night. 

"He would want us to do burn outs, that's for sure," said a friend as he sat in the bed of a pick-up truck overlooking dozens of mourners during a candlelight vigil Wednesday evening for the 20-year-old.   

Hassler was in the 5000 block of 116th Street, near last Wednesday. He Tuesday. 

"I put my bike back together just for this, it was all in pieces this morning," said Nick Curtis, Hassler's close friend. 

"It means a lot. There is a lot of love and support here for my son," Hassler's mother Leann said as she received condolences and hugs. "It's been great. It means a lot to me."

Gatherers signed a large poster and lit candles at the spot where the accident occurred. A motorcycle helmet was placed on the ground next to the poster and a cross.

"The helmet on the ground, that's mine. Rob wanted it and I will never wear that helmet again after tonight," Curtis said. "I have another helmet and I am always going to wear it now." 

According to police, eye-witness statements indicate Hassler was traveling at a high speed and was attempting a stunt while not wearing a helmet. 

"He was always a daredevil," a friend said.  

Tears and frowns gave way at times to quiet laughter, or a smile on a face in the crowd.  

"Rob would want to see us smiling and Rob would want to see us laughing," Justin Sibila said.

Some paid tribute to Hassler by sitting alone on the curb. Others huddled with friends. Some laughed and cried. Others stood still as statues.

"He was amazing. He touched so many people … he was so special," said Kaitlin Wojciechowski, a former girlfriend of Hassler, as she sat in solitude with a candle and a rose in her hands. 

"He died doing what he loved," she added. 

David Cotey December 01, 2011 at 08:24 PM
A sad night, and really a sad week, for all of those who knew Robert.
santana February 21, 2012 at 05:23 AM
rob was the best friend anyone could have ever wanted in their life...he was there for anyone when they needed him and he was always willing to help a friend in need...you put his friends needs before his own and he had a way of making you feel like everything was going to be okay...i had known him since grade school, and i feel truley honored to be able to say that i had him in my life...we miss you Rob <3

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