AVENTURA, Fla. – Family members, friends and dozens from the Aventura community marched to Peace Park on Sunday night before holding a candlelight vigil as they remembered the life of Justin Fernandes-Pedra.
"He was a happy, happy boy," the 8-year-old boy's mother, Jeantamee Sheuermann, said.
Tears ran down the face of Justin's father, Aldric Fernandes-Pedra, as he spoke of his son proudly.
"He was my son, and I love him so much," Fernandes-Pedra said in Spanish.
Justin's father described him as a champion who competed in extreme go-kart racing and who was always pushing his limits. But it is that fearlessness, his parents said, that may have led to his death.
"He wants to jump like Spiderman," Sheuermann said. "He does extreme sports. He's (an) undefeated champion, 20 times, in Aruba."
Sheuermann said Wednesday as the family was preparing to head out on vacation to Disney World, Justin and his 6-year-old brother played hide and seek. She said the two found a way up to the roof of the Echo building, when Justin looked down from the 12th floor and saw a blue canopy down below. His mother said he described it as a trampoline.
"He told his brother that, 'We're going to jump. It's going to be fine because we are going to bounce and we're going to get on the grass,'" Sheuermann said.
Justin aimed for it, but he didn't get to it. He missed it by a few meters.
Despite rescue efforts by a school resource officer right across the street, Justin died from his injuries.
His parents said while their son is gone, he will always hold a place in their heart.
"I will always remember him, and we will always love him," Sheuermann said.
Aventura police have ruled Justin’s death as accidental. Members of the community have started a GoFundMe page to help the family through the difficult time.