DAVIE, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida family is devastated by the loss of their teenage son, who was killed in a lightning strike while running in a park.

Davie Fire Rescue confirmed on Monday that Ethan Lawrence was killed after being struck by lightning, Sunday morning.

Lourdes Lawrence, Ethan’s mother, said she is devastated after losing her son at Vista View Park in Davie. 

“He was my pride and joy and I can not believe that I’m gonna continue this life without him,” she said.

Ethan was 19 years old.

“We don’t understand why, but the only thing that gives me comfort is he died doing what he loved,” said Lourdes. “Cross country runner, track runner, volleyball player, got recruited to Jacksonville University, and he was doing amazing.”

The family said that months before Ethan’s unexpected death, life threw them a curve ball, and Lourdes said he handled it with love and class. 

“He found out his girlfriend was pregnant. She delivered December 11, and his career path changed, just a little bit slightly,” she said.

Ethan decided to be a father to his daughter and transferred to Nova Southeastern University, earning a dean’s scholarship. He wanted to run cross-country, so he was conditioning. 

Andrea Lares, Ethan’s girlfriend, also spoke with 7News.

“I’m still in shock. I am still trying to process it because how it happened,” she said. “In a matter of seconds, he texted me in the morning, ‘Good morning love, I woke up late today.'”

“He was at Vista View, it’s drizzling, he tells me, ‘Hey, Momma, I’m going to go run.’ ‘OK, baby, love you, be safe,'” said Lourdes.

After several hours, Lourdes tracked Ethan, and when his location didn’t change, she sent her husband, Patrick Lawrence, to the park to find him. 

“And then the detectives came over to my car and told me, ‘I don’t know if there is any easy way to say this at all, so I’m just going to tell you that unfortunately, your son was running, he was struck by lightning, and he didn’t make it,'” said Patrick.

His mother said around the time he was hit by lightning, her body was physically jolted. 

“Around that time I was upstairs, and I felt a very sharp pain in my chest,” said Lourdes. “And I said to myself, ‘Am I having a heart attack? What is going on?’ And then I said to myself, ‘He’s gone. Why my son? Why?'”

The Lawrence family went to the park on Monday, hoping to find answers to some of their questions. Lourdes said she felt her son was guiding her.

“We went to the site, and Ethan led me to where he was struck. I saw the hole on the ground, and I looked down, and my husband said, ‘Look, his cross,'” she said. “That’s him telling me ‘Mom, I’m OK, I’m OK, you be OK.'”

The family knows life will never be the same, but they’ll honor him forever. Now, his name lives on with his daughter, Emara. 

“Now he left us a piece of his DNA to continue, he [was] smitten with her [Emara],” said Lourdes. “I’m so grateful and thankful that I had 19 beautiful years with my son.”

Lourdes said her son was such a good son, an amazing human, and just a good soul. She will now spend the rest of her life making sure everyone knows it.

Florida is the lightning capital of the U.S. On average ,40 people are injured and 10 people are killed by lightning strikes per year.

Loved ones have set up a GoFundMe page to help Andrea and Emara with expenses. If you would like to make donation, click here.

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