Beach community mourns hit-and-run victim

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Friends of Daniel Stein said a paddle-out on their surfboards was the best way to honor their lost friend.

"This is our way of coping, coming together and being a family," said friend Melissa Lafferty.

She said she counted 72 people in Jacksonville Beach, sharing stories and leaving behind flowers.

"It's a fitting tribute for a guy with a bunch of friends," said friend Don Nichol.

Stein, 24, died early Saturday after police say he was hit by a black Mercedes on Third Street and 13th Avenue North. 

 "We're all out, having a great time on the Fourth and we wake up to the news that we lost one of our best friends. It's tough," said Nichol.

Police said the driver of the Mercedes didn't stop, leaving the popular beaches man to rely on witnesses to get him some help. 

Police are relying on those same witnesses to lead them to their suspect.

 "The public is helping immensely. We've had some good leads," said Sgt. Tommy Crumley with the Jacksonville Beach Police Department.

"I do believe that they'll find him," said Lafferty. "Jax Beach is a small community."

Until then, Lafferty remembers the stories about Stein that made her smile, and the positive influence he had on everyone he met.

"Everybody loves him and everybody misses him. And we'll see him on the other side," she said. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Jacksonville Beach Police Department at 904-270-1667.