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Fans pay tribute to 'Fast & Furious' actor Paul Walker and Roger Rodas

Hundreds arrive in muscle cars and on motorcycles to pay tribute to the actor and Roger Rodas, killed in a fiery crash Nov. 30.

December 09, 2013|By Samantha Schaefer, James Barragan and Thomas Curwen

The fast and furious became the solemn and reverential Sunday as hundreds of fans and mourners met in Valencia to pay tribute to the memory of actor Paul Walker and Roger Rodas, killed Nov. 30 in a car crash.

Under cold but clear skies, a line of muscle cars and motorcycles made a slow procession through the industrial park where the accident took place. Messages honoring Walker were spray-painted on their windows. One car had a funeral wreath, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Billed as a memorial rally and car cruise, the gathering gave fans an opportunity to remember Walker, 40, whose fame as an undercover detective in the "Fast & Furious" film franchise made him beloved to millions, and celebrate the high-octane culture of tuner cars.

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Overhead, two small planes flew by, trailed by banners reading, "R.I.P. God be with Fast and Furious star Paul Walker" and "Our Hearts go out to his Family and Friends."

With engines revving and echoing between warehouses, enthusiasts crowded around parked vehicles featured in the "Fast & Furious" franchise, hoods propped open for inspection. There was the blue Nissan Skyline driven by Walker in "Fast Four." There was the yellow Mazda RX7 from "Tokyo Drift."

Some came alone, and some came in caravans. Jenna Catic, 24, led a pack of 15 cars from Phoenix. For Catic, Walker was more than just an actor.

"He was part of our lifestyle," she said.

Snow and ice weren't about to stop Chris Harrel, 20, and Conner Eddy, 16, who made the 20-hour drive from the Seattle area. Their ride was in a 2003 Mitsubishi Evolution VIII, similar to the car Walker drove in "2 Fast 2 Furious." Friends said they were crazy for making the trip, but they saw it as their only opportunity to pay their respects to an actor they looked up to.

"All the guys out here wanted to be like him," Harrel said.

Some milled around the crash site; some climbed a ladder to add their names to a large memorial canvas, stretched over the side of a big-rig trailer and featuring pictures of Walker and Rodas.

"Unfortunately, we're here for a tragic reason, but it's an opportunity" for car enthusiasts to show off their vehicles, said Davin Smith, 31, who was joined by his girlfriend, Yoli Perez, 21.

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