By Ken MacLeod

BELMONT (CBS) — A Belmont father who was killed one year ago in a road age incident was remembered on Saturday with a march and a candlelight vigil. 35-year-old Henry Tapia was a Black and Latino man, and authorities say his skin color became part of his assailant’s motive.

On the same road where the tragedy unfolded, candle-toting marchers mourned the death of Tapia, even as many were quick to admit that his memory always brings a smile.

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“His main goal was to make sure everybody was laughing,” Courtney Morton said, Tapia’s girlfriend.

Morton was among them recalling that day a year ago when the father of her youngest son was run over and killed during a road rage incident by a man who prosecutors say called Tapia the “N-Word” as their dispute escalated. Dean Kapsalis of Hudson is facing murder charges in the case.

On Saturday, more than a hundred people turned out to condemn the crime and racial injustice.

“And I thank all of you immensely for being there for me and my children and my family in this time that we all needed you the most,” Morton said.

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But the people in attendance also wanted to remember the engaged dad, avid gamer, and big teddy bear, who had the special ability to lift those around him.

“He was a bucket full of joy, full of laughter. He had a laugh that you could never forget,” said Danny Garcia.

His son Elias must now grow up without a dad. But as the boy’s mother fielded hug after hug, she was confident her young son is in good hands.

“There’s definitely trauma, but there’s a huge community behind him that will hopefully support him,” said Morton.

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In addition to the murder accusation, Kapsalis is facing federal civil rights charges. The Tapia family has also filed a wrongful death suit against him.

Ken MacLeod