Restored memorial honors 15-year-old killed in police chase

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Nearly four years later, it’s difficult for Dionne Harding to visit Coors and Ellison.

“I almost went there yesterday to put flowers, and I thought, no,” said Dionne Harding. 

The Coors and Ellison intersection will forever be a reminder of what was lost. 

First, her 15-year-old son, Manny Tapia, was hit and killed during a police chase in 2019. Then, the memorial for him was vandalized.

“That cross has been vandalized over, and over,” said Harding. “And then, when I saw the cross on fire in broad daylight on a TikTok video, it was so shocking.”

So shocking – people did something about it.

“I feel supported. It’s the craziest thing to have support on. But I can appreciate the shock of the community that this is even a thing that’s happening to a child’s memorial cross,” Harding said. 

Now, four crosses stand. The burnt one had been restored, and the newest one is a mystery.

“The community, I don’t know exactly who, but they put up their own crosses at the intersection,” said Harding. 

It’s metal and appeared on the corner on Mother’s Day weekend.

“His picture is on there. Oh, that’s beautiful!” Harding said. 

Manny’s presence is still felt, and a message from perfect strangers was received.

“It feels like some part of our society does care and there is hope,” said Harding.

The city settled a civil lawsuit for the death of Tapia, but nobody has been criminally charged with his death.