KANSAS CITY, Mo.— Charles Criniere was a husband, father of 10, deacon, math teacher and so much more. His friends say he wore many hats and always did so with a smile.
“To know Charlie—I’ll just be straight up—is to love Charlie,” said friend Paul Salerno.
“So he had incredible wisdom. And was was someone that was so easy to love,” said Athol Varnes, senior pastor at Grace Point Baptist Church.
Criniere was killed Saturday morning while on a bike ride. The Kansas City Missouri Police Department said a driver heading south on View High Drive hit his bike and left him for dead.
KCPD has not released any more information about the crash or vehicle description but those who knew Criniere are trying to make sense of his tragic death.
“Just, just did not compute. I mean, it’s just so sudden,” said friend and neighbor Ken DeBenedictis.
“Well it was very sad to hear that Charlie’s not here. But we believe in eternity,” said Djny Salerno.
And because he leaves behind a big family, a GoFundMe has been started to support his wife and 10 children during this time.
“They’re so giving, and they were living off a teacher’s salary. 10 kids and they always gave, and I would look at him and be like, ‘How are they giving so much?’ But that’s their heart, is to give to people,” said neighbor Erika DeBenedictis
Criniere was a man of faith and following in those footsteps, his friends say they are not angry toward the driver who left the scene.
“We feel, we believe that, you know, it’s God’s place to make—you know—retribution. He’s in control. Our job is to love. And as crazy as that sounds, to just be praying for that guy or girl, whoever it was, that they would just feel remorse and conviction turn themselves in and do the right thing,” Ken DeBenedictis said.
“We don’t have any anger, any animosity, any bitterness in our heart. We would obviously want the person to come forward, you know. Just, I can’t imagine—you know—hitting someone, just leaving them there. You know, it’s just sad, just for the family, for closure and that we forgive you. I know that sounds absolutely insane,” Paul Salerno said.
If you want to donate to the GoFundMe for Criniere’s family, click here.