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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 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 good character and has a strong work ethic.”

According to his biography on the Wake Forest website, Jones is in his second season as an assistant coach. He previously served as an assistant coach at the University of Central Florida and Florida Gulf Coast University.

Before his career in collegiate basketball, Jones worked with youth basketball players, his family said. “As a coach, Jamill safely shepherds young men to be respectful contributors to society while competing at the highest levels of collegiate sports.”

In a brief statement on Friday, Wake Forest said it had placed Jones on leave and, like Jones’ family, “express heartfelt condolences” to Szabo’s “family and friends following his tragic death.”

The school said Jones had spoken with the athletic director and Jones “agreed that the decision is appropriate at this time.”

Szabo lived in South Florida and was the vice president of sales at What If Media Group.

Speaking to PEOPLE on Friday, What If Media Group’s C.E.O. Josh Gillon says Szabo loved nature and enjoyed being outside and snorkeling.

“ would catch fish and they’d cook what they caught,” Gillon says. “He loved being out on the water.”

After being taken off of life support, Szabo’s organs were donated, according to his family.

They wrote: “Right now, just knowing that he will continue to live through others is the only comfort we can find … He truly was too good to be a part of this evil world.”