PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL-- A fall from the balcony of a condominium on Florida's gulf coast turned deadly for a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee student on spring break Saturday.
21-year-old Jacob Winkler was at the Gulf Crest Condominiums early Saturday morning when he fell from the balcony. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
"It's just so hard to believe this has happened," Jacob's father, Jim Winkler told FOX6 News Saturday afternoon. "He was a wonderful, wonderful person. If you met him, I'm sure you would have liked him a lot."
"He could walk anywhere and talk to anybody and put a smile on their face," Jordan Alexander said at Pius High School, where he met Winkler as they were both incoming freshmen, and became friends. "He loved sports and he loved people. He loved being around people and just showing everybody the best time."
Winkler was originally from Menomonee Falls. After graduating from high school, he attended UW-Whitewater before transferring to UWM. It was just a few weeks earlier, March 1st, that he celebrated his 21st birthday.
Family and friends agree that he could light up a room the second he entered.
"His smile is the thing everyone's going to miss the most," Alexander said. I just feel the world is literally missing a person that it needed. He just brightened up everything. The world needs more people like Jake. He was one of those people who would literally give you the shirt off his back."
Police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the fall, but they do not suspect foul play.
A vigil is planned to remember Winkler Monday, March 26th at 7:00 p.m. at Pius XI High School.