Well-known muralist Douglas Hoekzema, known as Hoxxoh, was perched 40 feet in the air on scaffolding attached to the side of a Hollywood high-rise Monday afternoon with his assistants Jonathan Olsen and Raymond Brown as they swirled his signature circles on the building’s facade.
Then something went terribly wrong.
Hoekzema, Olsen and Brown — along with yellow paint — were sent tumbling when the scaffolding collapsed. Local and federal authorities were still trying to piece together what happened Tuesday; they identified the victms on Tuesday afternoon.
Brown, an artist and musician who worked at Perez Art Museum Miami, fell to the ground and was killed. Hoekzema and Olsen were left dangling until firefighters could rescue them from the building.
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On Tuesday, those who knew Brown, including Hoxxoh, remembered him as a kindhearted man who had a passion for music and art.
“He was a talented artist and musician with a great attitude,” said PAMM director Franklin Sirmans. “Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”
How the metal scaffolding fell from the the 41-story Hyde Resort and Residences just before 1:30 p.m. Monday is still not clear. The building was under construction.
Firefighters inside Hallandale Beach Station 60 — which is separated from the Hyde Resort only by a narrow public pathway to the beach — ran to the muralists’ aid immediately.
One man was rushed to the hospital with serious injuries. Another man was rescued with the help of a ladder truck. TV cameras captured the dramatic rescue.
All three were wearing their harnesses, according to Hallandale Fire Rescue, so it was not known how Brown was able to fall. It was also not clear who was responsible for setting up the scaffolding that the three were standing on.
Among those investigating: The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which said investigators have six months to complete a report.
Eric Fordin, vice president of 4111 South Ocean Drive, LLC, the development group, wrote a statement Tuesday confirming the accident.
“Security and safety are, and always have been, a priority at our construction site and an internal investigation of this event is underway,” he wrote. “We are deeply concerned and send heart-felt thoughts to the individuals involved and their families.”
In a statement, John Leete, the executive vice president of John Moriarty & Associates of Florida, the general contractor, said the “heart-rending incident” happened when the swing stage the artists were on collapsed. Work has been suspended temporarily at the job site and at Echo Brickell, where a similar scaffolding accident left one dead and five injured last week. The developer at Echo Brickell is Property Markets Group.
“Security and safety are paramount to us. Active job sites are high-risk environments, in spite of the most stringent safety precautions. We take these incidents very seriously and to heart,” Leete wrote.
Meanwhile, Brown’s death hit the artistic community and his family hard.
Jay Ore, chief preparator for the museum, said he “was instrumental in working alongside our exhibitions program since the museum opened and has been a great friend to all who knew him.”
“Ray was an artist himself as he shared with his passion for music,” she said. “He was a sweetheart and will be missed dearly.”
Brown’s instagram page is full of minimalist, colorful scenes of South Florida life. He’d worked as a member of PAMM’s art handling prep team since 2013.
Brown’s cousin, Billy Kap, posted an emotional Facebook status calling his cousin, “The one I looked up to my whole life.”
“I spent so much time with you as a child and I will cherish those days forever. We were complete opposites you were quite [sic] and loved to draw and listen to music I loved to just bother you while you were doing your thing,” he wrote. “I will do everything in my will to make sure your parents are okay. I'll see you sometime soon homie I love you. Don't ever stop shredding that guitar and drawing you are an amazing person.”
Hoxxoh simply posted a picture of Brown on his Facebook page Tuesday with the words “I love you Ray!!!!!!”