Accident or Confrontation? Suspect and Victim’s Family Speak After Tourist Is Punched and Dies


A Florida man’s loved ones are heartbroken after he died this week in New York City where, according to officials, he was punched by another man on Sunday and sent smashing into the ground.

The suspect’s attorney, however, called the incident a “tragic accident” and his family issued a statement in support of him as the full picture of what happened remains unclear.

Sandro Szabo, 35, died in an N.Y.C. hospital on Tuesday after he was assaulted two days earlier.

“His family and friends are overwhelmed, but not surprised, by the outpouring of love and support from hundreds of people whose lives he touched,” relatives wrote on a GoFundMe page for a memorial fund.

Szabo, of Boca Raton, had been visiting the city for a relative’s wedding, his family wrote. But early Sunday he may have mistaken an SUV for an Uber he had called to take him back to his hotel, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.

His mom, Donna Kent, confirmed that in an interview Friday on the Today show: “He was trying to get an Uber and his cellphone died and so he just tapped on the wrong guy’s window.”

After Szabo knocked on the SUV’s window in Queens, a man inside got out and an altercation ensued, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

N.Y.C. police confirmed to PEOPLE that Szabo was struck in the face “following a confrontation” with the other man. Additional information about what happened leading up to the punch has not been released.

Szabo was punched then fell backward and lost consciousness after his head hit the pavement, police said. According to the medical examiner’s office, which has ruled Szabo’s death a homicide, he was killed from blunt impact injury to the head with a brain injury.

His assailant then fled the scene, according to police.

For days authorities asked the public for its help in identifying the suspected attacker, who was caught on surveillance footage.

On Thursday, Jamill Jones, an assistant men’s basketball coach at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, surrendered to law enforcement alongside his attorney.

Jones has been charged with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor. He pleaded not guilty during his arraignment on Thursday. Police tell PEOPLE additional charges could follow.

Jones was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to appear back in court on Oct. 2, according to NBC News.

“Our hearts are breaking,” Szabo’s family wrote on the GoFundMe page shared Friday, describing him as “the victim of a brutal and senseless attack.”

Szabo was “the most loving, kind, talented, energetic, compassionate, considerate person you could ever meet,” they said.

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In a statement of their own, provided to PEOPLE, Jones’ relatives said something similar about him. They offered their condolences to Szabo’s family.

“Jamill Jones is a wonderful son and father — a good-hearted man who protects his loved ones from harm,” his family said. “Jamill is a man of …read more

Source:: People

      

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