Students mourn death of Buffalo State graduate

Sarah Minkewicz, News Editor

The SUNY Buffalo State community is mourning the death of Nicholas Figueroa, 23, a 2014 graduate who was killed during the recent explosion in New York City’s East Village.

The explosion happened last Thursday afternoon at Sushi Park, located at 121 Second Ave. Investigators believe a faulty gas line caused the blast that lead to a fire and leveled 3 buildings.

The Huffington Post reported that Figueroa was on a date and was paying the bill of $13.04 when the explosion occurred. For several days, Figueroa was reported missing until his body was discovered on Sunday.

Dwayne Remolada, a senior at Buffalo State majoring in communication studies, said he’d always remember Figueroa as an honorable man with a pure heart.

Remolada met Figueroa about three years ago through mutual friends.

“He was an honorable man,” Remolada said. “You can’t say this about a lot of people, but he was pure-hearted. His intentions were clear. When he wanted something, he would tell you he wanted it but he would never be selfish about getting it.”

Remolada said that his fondest memory of Figueroa was when they and a group of other college friends went out for the night at a club called Bottoms Up. After a couple of drinks, Remolada and Figueroa went outside the club where they discussed their generation and how it deals with relationships.

“He [Figueroa] said a lot of people do these actions because it’s not right, and they know it’s wrong in their hearts but they still do it because they let their emotions get the best of them,” Remolada said.

“This was coming from a drunk guy,” he added. “Which was profound to me. That led me to believe that he was truly genuine.”

Figueroa graduated from Buffalo State with a bachelor’s in criminal justice and was hoping to one day be a police officer.

Remolada said some of Figueroa’s hobbies included working out and being healthy.

“He was very well-dressed, ate well and exercised a lot,” Remolada said.Giovanni Salvatore, also a senior majoring in communication studies, said Figueroa and him were “gym buddies” at one point. He met Figueroa on campus and is saddened by the loss of his friend. Salvatore also thought of him as a genuine person.

Senior communication studies major and writer for The Record, Najee Walker, was Figueroa’s roommate for about two and a half years. They met in Tower 1 and moved to STAC, living together until last December.

“He always had quotes, things we called ‘Nickisms.’ The one that I’ll take most of all is ‘Live in the moment.’ He would always say that.”

Buffalo State will hold a Memorial Service at noon on April 10 for Figueroa, along with other alumni that have passed this year. The memorial service will be located in the Campbell Student Union Assembly Hall.

The college sent out a mass email telling students that if they have any concerns, to contact the Counseling Center at (716) 878-4436 or Crisis Services at (716) 834-3131.

In the mass email, the college also offered advice for grieving students and said, “In the meantime, please practice good self-care and stress-management techniques, get rest and sleep, talk to supportive friends, and let your RAs know if you or someone you know is significantly troubled by this sad news.”

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