COLORADO SPRINGS – The Colorado Springs community is mourning the loss of a beloved local man.
44-year-old Criss Seal, also known as the “flag guy,” was killed in a hit-and-run crash Wednesday night near Academy and Austin Bluffs.
On Friday night, a vigil was held to honor Seal near Galley and Academy. The intersection was a special one to Seal as he would stand there each year on September 11 and wave an American flag to remember the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks. Dozens of people gathered at this same intersection, but this time, it was to remember Seal.
In reaction to his death, Seal’s daughter, Cristaina Seal, said, “It me was thinking like oh my god. Is this actually happening?”
Kyla Gonzales, another daughter, said, “We all just were really very in shock and really could not believe this was really the case.”
One of Seal’s sons, Cristavon Seal, said, “It was really upsetting and I don’t understand why someone would just hit someone and just drive away.”
Family member and friend Robert Abeyta said, “I’m just hoping that he’s in paradise right now, waving the flag up there.”
Gonzales said, “Anybody that knew Criss Seal you knew that he was the 9/11 flag guy. He would walk from corner to corner right here on Galley and Academy and would celebrate the remembrance of 9/11.”
It’s a tradition Seal started 17 years ago and one that the crowd honored. They waved flags around Seal’s intersection to pay tribute to a father, friend, and patriot.
Cristaina Seal said, “He would want us to come together and do this.”
Abeyta said, “We’ll never forget 9/11, but we won’t forget Criss either.”
While Seal may be gone, the tradition he started will continue.
Abeyta said, “I think I’m going to go ahead and pick up my banner, and go ahead and wave my flag.”
The Colorado Springs Police Department said Seal was not walking in a crosswalk when he was hit. He died at the scene from his injuries.
The suspect in connection to Seal’s death, Robert M. Valencia, has been arrested.
Seal’s death is now the 44th traffic death in Colorado Springs this year.
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