An award-winning teen artist has died in custody after police tasered him during a foot chase in Miami.
Police spotted Israel Hernandez-Llach-Llach, a 18-year-old painter and sculptor, spraying graffiti on a shuttered McDonald’s on Tuesday morning, according to the Miami Herald. They approached him, at which point he fled. After losing Hernandez-Llach in a lengthy pursuit, the police ran into him face-to-face, then fired a taser at his chest. Hernandez-Llach collapsed on the ground immediately; his friends testify that the police congratulated each other with high fives after dropping the suspect.
Upon being taken into custody, Hernandez-Llach began to show signs of distress. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead soon thereafter. An autopsy was performed yesterday, but the medical examiner hasn’t yet ruled on a cause of death.
Hernandez-Llach was known in Miami art circles for his sculpting, painting and photography. He had recently designed and launched a skateboard line, which he hoped to market under the name “Tropical,” and his work had been displayed in numerous local galleries and museums.
(Image: Israel Hernandez-Llach via GiveForward)
“It was an honor to work with him,” said Herb Kelly, one of Hernandez-Llach’s high school art teachers. “He was cutting edge. He had such awesome potential. To lose his life the way he did is tragic.”
Hernandez-Llach’s family has started a fund to raise money for his funeral. Their lawyer has requested an independent investigation into Hernandez-Llach’s death.
(Top Image: GiveForward)