Tributes are pouring in from around the world for Brazilian professional surfer Ricardo Dos Santos, who died in the hospital Tuesday after police say an off-duty officer shot him outside of his beachside home.
The confrontation took place Monday near Guarda do Embau, a beach south of the Brazilian tourist destination of Florianópolis, authorities said. The off-duty officer said he shot Dos Santos, who was unarmed, three times in self-defense, investigator Marcelo Arruda told The Associated Press. Other witnesses say Officer Luis Brentano fired at the 24-year-old wave rider after they got into an argument.
Arruda offered no details about the altercation, pending the investigation. Brentano remains jailed, but has not been charged. Under Brazilian law, prosecutors only level charges once the police investigation is complete.
Dos Santos was a renowned tube rider who captured the surf world's attention after famously beating 11-time world champion Kelly Slater in the Billabong Pro Tahiti trials in 2012, according to Surfer Magazine.
Members of the surfing community posted online remembrances of Dos Santos, a popular pro surfer with a bright future. Slater said Dos Santos’ death is a "truly senseless loss of life," and published a tribute on Instagram Tuesday calling him one “of the great barrel riders of his short time.”
Fellow Brazilian pro surfer Adriano de Souza struggled to find words for the tragedy: “What do you say when you lose a great friend?” he asked on Facebook. “What do you say when you lose such a cheerful, goodhearted person and good in life like Ricardinho?"
Billabong, one of Dos Santos' sponsors, said in a statement that he was a "legend" and "fearless" on the waves. "More importantly, Ricardo was a loving brother, son, friend, and grandson," Billabong wrote. "When not traveling the globe in search of giant barrels, Ricardo spent time at home helping around the house and surfing with local groms" — slang for a young surfer.
— Emmanuelle Saliba
The Associated Press contributed to this report.