MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Hundreds of friends and supporters of an 18-year-old graffiti artist who died after being shocked by a stun gun during a police chase in Miami Beach gathered on Saturday in a tearful rally at the site where he had been spray-painting.
Colombian-born Israel Hernandez-Llach died on Tuesday after police shocked him with a Taser as he ran away from officers who caught him spray-painting the wall of a shuttered McDonald's.
"He was a genius," said Lucy Rynka, 18, who graduated from Miami Beach Senior High School with Hernandez-Llach last spring. "He showed me how powerful art can be, how you can use color and design to relay a powerful message."
Miami Beach Police Chief Raymond Martinez has said that Hernandez-Llach was confronted by officers after vandalizing private property and ignored their commands to stop running.