Israel Hernandez had only managed to scribble a tiny letter "R" — the initial of his nickname, "Reefa" — on the wall of an abandoned graffiti-and-poster-littered McDonald's last Tuesday morning, when he was spotted by the cops and took off.
According to the official police report, over half a dozen Miami Beach Police Officers took part in chasing down the 18-year-old skater.
After a short pursuit through alleys and adjacent buildings, officers eventually caught up with Hernandez, pushed him up against the wall, and Tasered him.
"Once in custody, the subject displayed signs of medical duress," Chief Raymond Martinez said in a statement. "Miami Beach Fire Rescue responded to the scene and transported the subject to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead."
Family and friends of Hernandez have since spoken out to question the need for such force against a harmless young man who "wanted to change the world somehow through art," according to his sister Offir.
A pal who was acting as a lookout said he saw officers congratulate each other after tasing Hernandez, and then mock him as he lay on the ground.
Friends believe Hernandez fled because he is a Colombian immigrant who very recently became documented, and feared deportation.
He had also smoked marijuana earlier that day.
"He had a short mission here in life, but it has affected the way I live for sure," said his skating buddy Rafael Lynch. "I can't do nothing to get him back. All I can do now is finish what we started, but it's just me now — alone."
Lynch said Hernandez had recently launched his own line of custom skateboards which were already generating buzz from local galleries.
Autopsy and toxicology reports are still pending, and both the MBPD and the state attorney’s office have launched investigations into the incident.