BROCKTON (CBS) – A pedestrian died after being struck by a Brockton Police cruiser Friday night.

According to State Police, the incident happened around 8:30 p.m. in the area of 581 Main Street. The officer was responding to a call at the time.

On Saturday, the Plymouth District Attorney’s office identified the victim as 61-year-old Antonio Tavares.

His family said Tavares, who was from Cape Verde, was a hard worker and a devoted father of nine children.

“It’s very hard for the family. The wife’s crying all the time. He has two daughters – they’re crying all the time,” said a relative.

A Brockton Police cruiser struck a pedestrian on Main Street (WBZ-TV)

Initial investigation shows the officer was responding to an emergency call with the cruiser’s lights and sirens activated.

Witnesses said Tavares was trying to beat the cruiser across Main Street. He was thrown several feet onto a sidewalk.

“The Brockton Police officer made attempts to stop and avoid the collision and immediately administered aid to the victim,” the DA said.

One witness said the officer tried to use a shirt to stop the blood.

“The cop was doing everything he could. My fiance ripped off his shirt and tried to hold it on the man’s head,” said witness Amber Reynolds-White.

Antonio Tavares. (Photo via Facebook)

“I tried to hold him, hold his hand, ask him in all the languages – because I didn’t know who he was,” said witness Val Meadows. “I did the best I can, but I didn’t sleep all night long.”

“It was just a terrible tragedy and a terrible accident. The officer was on his way responding to another call and it happened. It was just that quick,” said witness Michelle Ferraro.

Tavares was rushed to the hospital but later died. The officer who struck Tavares was also taken to the hospital as a precaution.

State Police detectives from the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office and collision reconstruction teams are investigating.

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