Boyce "Scoop" Coleman's friends and family aren't surprised he was the first to jump into the Hudson River after a 6-year-old autistic boy fell in the water at a barbecue Sunday, the New York Post reports. Coleman, 40, is credited with helping to save the child—witnesses say he handed the boy to another -ood Samaritan after several jumped in to rescue him—but he then disappeared under the water himself. Rescue crews recovered his body two hours later. "I guess he ran out of breath," says a friend who was at the barbecue, adding that Coleman jumped "over the fence with his clothes, sneakers, shades, everything" to get to the river.
The boy, Stephan Jones, climbed a chain-link fence during the cookout at JFK Marina in Yonkers and then fell into a no-swim area, WABC reports. A neighbor says the boy doesn't talk or like crowds and runs off frequently. Grief-stricken family and friends praise Coleman for giving his life to save the child. "He died doing God's work in front of everybody that he loved. So it hurts, but I feel confident knowing that he's with the Lord," says one friend. Coleman was a tattoo artist in Yonkers and had two children himself—daughters, ages 3 and 20. As for Stephan, he's been released from the hospital. (In North Carolina, a man drowned after running into the water to rescue a stranger.)