An assistant men’s basketball coach at Wake Forest University has been charged in an assault in New York City that resulted in the death of a Florida tourist, authorities said.
The victim, Sandor Szabo, 35, of Boca Raton, Fla., died Tuesday, police said.
Jamill Jones, 35, of Geoffrey Way in Kernersville was charged with misdemeanor third-degree assault, a spokesman for the New York Police Department said. Jones is accused of punching Szabo once in the face Sunday, causing Szabo to strike his head on the pavement, the spokesman said.
Jones pleaded not guilty to the charge at an arraignment Thursday night and was released on his own recognizance, the Associated Press reported.
The incident, which followed a confrontation between the men, happened about 1:15 a.m. in front of 41-10 29th St. in the Queens borough of New York City, New York police said.
The man who punched Szabo drove away northbound on 29th Street in a white SUV, police said.
Szabo died at 2:52 p.m. Tuesday at a New York hospital, police said. The Queens County District Attorney’s Office in New York is reviewing the case, the spokesman said.
Szabo was taken off life support Tuesday, the New York Times reported Thursday.
Wake Forest athletics department issued a statement on Thursday.
“We have just been made aware of this matter, and we are gathering information,” said Steve Shutt, a spokesman for the athletics department. “We will make a further statement after we learn more about the matter.”
Szabo, who was visiting New York for his stepsister’s wedding, was leaving his brother’s hotel and looking for the ride he had called, his family told the New York Post. Szabo was banging on multiple cars, including Jones’ vehicle, prior to the incident, sources told the Post.
A local resident came outside amid the ruckus and Szabo punched that person in the face, sources told the newspaper.
Jones then allegedly punched Szabo, the sources said.
Jones went to the 114th Precinct with his attorney Thursday morning to turn himself in to authorities, the newspaper said. A medical examiner’s report will determine whether the punch led to Szabo’s death, the Post reported.
Jones was hired at Wake Forest in May 2017 after serving as an assistant at the University of Central Florida, Virginia Commonwealth University and Florida Gulf Coast University. Before that, Jones was an assistant coach for an AAU program based in Washington, D.C.
When he was hired, Coach Danny Manning of Wake Forest said: “Jamill brings new blood to our staff and some new perspectives. I’ve gotten to know him over the last few years on the recruiting trail, and he worked for one of my good friends in Joe Dooley. He is a well-respected, bright mind in our profession. We are extremely excited and pleased to have him involved with our program and help us continue to push forward.”
Jones graduated from Arkansas Tech in 2008. His high school listed on his Wake Forest bio page was Rochester Community School in Michigan.
Jones was at the Old Town Club on Tuesday morning for the Chris Paul Family Foundation Charity Classic golf tournament, before which Paul announced he was pledging a $2.5 million donation to Wake Forest’s basketball programs. Jones seemed to be an active participant in the event and is in a photo with Paul, the rest of the basketball assistant coaches and Manning.
Jones’ Twitter page has been deactivated or deleted.
News about the victim’s background has emerged as well.
Szabo’s employer, What If Media Group, confirmed the news of his death Wednesday morning on the company’s Facebook page.
“Sandor was a well-known and well-respected leader in the digital marketing industry,” the company wrote. “He lived in Boca Raton with his brother, but spent a lot of time in our Fort Lee, N.J. office. He was critical in helping our company’s recent rapid growth, and was very proud that we were selected as one of the fastest growing companies on the Inc 5000.”
Szabo was “always upbeat, positive, kind and caring,” and loved fishing and cooking, the company wrote.
According to Szabo’s Linkedin page, he had worked as a vice president of sales for What If Media Group since March 2017. He also worked as a consultant for Robert Kent Associates in the Raleigh-Durham area at the same time.
Szabo received his bachelor’s degree in project management business administration from DeVry University in Raleigh in 2009, Sazbo’s Linkedin page says.