Memorial held for man who drowned after jumping into canal - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Memorial held for man who drowned after jumping into canal

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Friends of Alexandre Nicolas Friends of Alexandre Nicolas
Alexandre Nicolas Alexandre Nicolas

NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- A memorial was held Saturday for a South Florida man who died after he tried to escape from the police officers who had just taken him into custody and jumped into a canal.

Nearly 100 friends and loved ones came to pay their respects by the canal where 20-year-old Alexandre Nicolas lost his life Jan. 25.

Officials said the incident that led to the death of 20-year-old Alexandre Nicolas began as a criminal traffic stop in front of a Brazilian steakhouse at Biscayne Boulevard and 163rd Street. Sunny Isles Beach Police were pursuing Nicolas in what they said was a stolen car.

Officers handcuffed Nicolas, but in a bizarre turn of events, he sprinted through busy traffic, crossing Biscayne Boulevard and diving into a nearby roadside canal. He was rushed to Aventura Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Nicolas' older brother said his deceased sibling brightened everyone with whom he came into contact. "My brother was very upbeat and a very happy person," he said, "one who touched a lot of people in a lot of ways."

"He was always smiling, no matter where he was," said friend Jessica Fishkin. "He would walk into a room, he was never in a bad mood. He knew exactly what to say to everybody."

When friend Sarah Salceto first heard about Nicolas' passing, she thought it was a prank. "I didn't believe it; I thought it was a joke," she said. "It was a text message, and I thought it was a joke, so I wrote back, like, 'Oh, stop playing; it's not funny,' and then like, five minutes later, my phone was being blown up and I realized it wasn't a joke."

Heartbroken over the loss, Nicolas' family said they are frustrated with the response from Sunny Isles Beach Police. "If he wasn't properly detained ... why weren't some of these protocols [observed]?" said Nicolas' older brother. "Why don't we have a police report?"

The family has hired an attorney to inquire further. As they wait for answers, Nicolas' loved ones said they want to remember a young man who had a bright future ahead of him.

Reporter: "How are you going to remember him?"

Sarah Salceto: "By his smile, how wonderful he was. Whenever I would see him, he would come over to me and give me a hug, and whenever I was sad, I would go to him."

Sunny Isles Beach Police declined to comment on the open investigation into Nicolas' death.

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