Police charged a Wake Forest assistant basketball coach Thursday with assault in connection with an incident Sunday that resulted in the death of a man in New York. Authorities said that Jamill Jones punched Sandor Szabo on a Queens street, causing Szabo to fall and hit his head on the sidewalk, after which Jones left the scene.
Per ESPN, the school placed Jones on leave Friday after Athletic Director Ron Wellman and Jones mutually agreed that was their best course of action. This comes on the heels of the New York City medical examiner ruling Szabo’s death a homicide, due to “blunt impact injury of head with brain injury.”
Jones, who has been on Wake Forest Coach Danny Manning’s staff since May 2017, reportedly turned himself in to police Thursday morning while accompanied by a lawyer. The NYPD had posted an image Monday taken from surveillance video showing a man they wanted to question in connection with the incident, which occurred at approximately 1:15 a.m. Sunday.
Szabo, 35, was a Florida resident in town for his stepsister’s wedding on Saturday. According to reports, he had left his brother’s hotel room, possibly in a state of intoxication, and was banging on cars in search of an Uber ride he had ordered.
The New York Post cited law enforcement sources in reporting that a local resident confronted Szabo about the noise he was making, and that Szabo hit that person in the face. Jones, said to have been parked in an SUV that Szabo knocked on, got out and punched him, after which Szabo was taken to a hospital, only to die of his injuries on Tuesday.
Per the New York Post, the medical examiner has yet to determine if the punch allegedly thrown by Jones led to Szabo’s death, and the charges against him could change. An anonymous 17-year-old witness told WPIX earlier in the week that he and the man who punched Szabo propped the latter up against a car so that Szabo “would stop choking on his blood until the ambulance came.”
“We have just been made aware of this matter and we are gathering information,” a Wake Forest spokesman said Thursday evening in a statement to the Raleigh News & Observer. “We will make a further statement after we learn more about the matter.”
According to Jones’s bio at Wake Forest’s sports website, he is a Philadelphia native who attended Arkansas Tech and began his basketball coaching career in Washington, D.C., with an AAU squad named Team Takeover. He began moving through the college ranks in 2013 at Florida Gulf Coast, before stints at VCU and Central Florida.
Szabo was a marketing executive who lived in Boca Raton. “Sandor was super outgoing, friendly, and an incredibly smart businessman,” his company, What If Media, said in a Facebook post Wednesday.
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