Wake Forest basketball coach charged for punch that killed tourist in New York

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Monday, August 13, 2018
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Sandor Szabo, left, died from injuries after he was allegedly punched by Wake Forest assistant coach Jamill Jones.

NEW YORK -- Police have arrested a Wake Forest University assistant basketball coach following a deadly punch on the streets of New York.

Jamill Jones, 35, an assistant for the Demon Deacons, turned himself in to police Thursday afternoon. He's charged with third-degree assault but those charges will likely be upgraded.

Police said he punched out 35-year-old Sandor Szabo of Boca Raton, Fla., last weekend about 1:15 a.m. on 29th Street in Long Island City.

Szabo, who was once a Raleigh resident, was in New York City for a wedding and was apparently knocking on a car window because he thought it was his Uber.

Police said Jones got out and punched Szabo. He fell to the ground, hit his head and later died.

A person familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press that Szabo may have been drunkenly banging on car windows before Jones allegedly confronted him. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to speak publicly.

The coach got out, followed Szabo to the sidewalk, clocked him and sped off, police said. Szabo never regained consciousness and was taken off life support on Tuesday.

The Wake Forest athletics office told ABC that "we have just been made aware of this matter and we are gathering information. We will make a further statement after we learn more about the matter."

Jones, of Kernersville, was arraigned Thursday evening and was released on his own recognizance. Jones was ordered to return to court on Oct. 2.

Sandor Szabo's family has yet to speak publicly about his death; except to tell the New York Daily News on Monday that "Sandor was the most loving and kind individual anyone could have as a friend."

Szabo's boss at What if Media said the marketing firm is heartbroken about his death.

"Sandor's an amazing guy," What If Media CEO Josh Gillon said. "He's just an upbeat, happy, good guy. Always had a positive attitude and smile, trying to help out any way he can with our business."

Before setting off for Florida, Szabo lived in Raleigh, N.C. He graduated from DeVry University and volunteered for Making Magic Alliance, a Raleigh-based non-profit that provides summer camp scholarships to underprivileged children.

"Mr. Szabo has been an integral part of our team beginning with his participation in the City of Raleigh Bikefest," Making Magic Alliance wrote in an endorsement of Szabo on social media. "He has been a reliable and dedicated volunteer to our cause."

Szabo, who lived in Boca Raton with his brother, always had a bright smile and shared a love of fishing, cooking and family, the company said.

Jones joined the Demon Deacons staff in May 2017 after coaching at Central Florida, where he served as an assistant to head coach Johnny Dawkins, a former Duke star.

He also coached at Virginia Commonwealth and at Florida Gulf Coast, where he was on the staff of Joe Dooley, now the coach at East Carolina.

Wake Forest head coach Danny Manning said at the time of Jones' hiring that he was a "well-respected bright mind" in the coaching world and brought "new blood" and "new perspectives" to Wake Forest.

Jones, a Philadelphia native, played basketball at Arkansas Tech and North Platte Community College in Nebraska.