West Campus Student Dies After Accidental Shooting
Twenty-year-old John Lucas sits in his living room, eyes dazed. He sighs, then smiles at the memory of the last words his younger brother, Andy Lucas, muttered.
“‘I’m okay,’” John said. “That’s what he kept repeating. It never even crossed my mind that he wouldn't come back home.”
Andy Lucas, 18, a criminal justice major at Miami Dade College’s West Campus, died after being shot in the chest on May 23 outside his apartment at 8851 NW Fontainbleau Blvd.
His neighbor, twenty-one-year-old Felix Santana, was charged with one count of manslaughter, according to an arrest affidavit released May 23. He was released on $7,500 bond on May 24. A hearing is scheduled for June 22.
“I don't understand how this happened,” said Lucas’ 29-year-old brother Rolando Lucas Jr. “He was my little bro. I helped raised him. I know about guns and I don't understand how this rifle just accidentally fired. The details are shady.”
Lucas tried to help Santana get a .22 caliber bolt-action rifle out of a car trunk. The weapon was loaded and without a trigger guard, the affidavit said.
Lucas held the trunk open with his right hand and grabbed the barrel of the rifle with his left. Santana held the rifle stock in order to place a sweater over the weapon to conceal it.
While lifting the rifle, it discharged, striking Lucas in the chest. According to the arrest affidavit, Santana ran from the scene, placed the rifle outside Lucas’ apartment, called 911 and attempted to make contact with his brother, John.
“I tried to give him CPR, but his body wouldn't take it,” John said. “ He just kept rejecting it.”
Lucas was airlifted to The Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital where he later died during surgery.
“I found out when I was at work that my son had been shot. When I got to the hospital it wasn't even five minutes that they took me into an empty room to give me the bad news,” Lucas’ mother Angela Lucas, 51, said. “They killed my son. He was born in this house, and died in this house. Even though he’s my angel, I feel empty.”
Lucas’ viewing was held May 27 at Funeraria Memorial Plan on Coral Way and 98 Ave.
Dressed in Miami Heat jerseys and NBA apparel, more than 200 of his family and friends paid their respects to Andy Lucas, a huge Heat fan.
Flower arrangements were made to resemble the jersey of Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade’s jersey. Lucas was wore a Wade jersey. As good-luck charms, rosaries were tossed in.
“It’s hard seeing him there so still. Andy was always happy, always had a smile on.The only time you couldn't mess with him was on the courts. He be serious on the courts. Even a regular game was intense,” friend and co-worker Christian Gonzalez said. “I will never meet anyone else like Andy. Never.”
Lucas, a 2010 graduate of Miami Coral Park Senior High School, played basketball and volleyball in high school. He dreamed of playing in the National Basketball Association.
“Over the years I’ve coached many student athletes, there are a few that are unforgettable— Andy Lucas was one of them,” said his former basketball coach at Miami Coral Park Senior High School. Alicia Hartlaub. “His work ethic, dedication and love for the sport was undeniably unquestionable.”
Lucas, who was one of four siblings, was known to be a real competitor, genuine joker and a fun, loving, zany individual. Friends described him as a “take charge kind of person” and a trusted mentor.
“I found out that Andy helped his friend enroll at Miami Dade. I found out now that everything we would advise him, he would advise his friends,” said Lucas’ sister, Ajeskca Lucas, 32. “So all this time that we thought he wasn't listening, he really was. Everyone confided in him.”
Rolando Lucas, 52, said he will miss his son’s sense of humor.
“God knows every time Andy would walk through that door—he was hungry. I’m the cook in the family, so I make the meals. I would always tell him, ‘wait till I’m done to eat.’ Man, he would go straight to the kitchen, get the biggest fork he could find, come up to my face and take a huge bite,” Rolando said. “He would elbow me and tell me I should quit my job and become a chef.”
Lucas was cremated on June 8. The Heat jersey he wore the day of the memorial ceremony will be framed.
Despite his death, Lucas’ family said he will continue to inspire them.
“I want to produce music, but if not for him, I would have fallen. You best believe I'm gonna go harder, I'm gonna make this happen. Now, this music will be for him,” John said. “You ask if he’ll be with me? Oh, he’ll be there. He’s already here.”
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