DeKalb officials ID man killed by falling branch while cutting down trees

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Officials have identified a man killed Friday afternoon when he was struck by a large branch while working to cut down trees in DeKalb County.

Abimael Ortiz, 32, died while working as part of a crew clearing trees from an undeveloped lot in Stonecrest, Channel 2 Action News reported. Ortiz was seriously injured when the branch fell on top of him and pinned him to the ground around 12:30 p.m., DeKalb Fire Rescue officials said. He was taken to Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center, where he died of his injuries early Saturday morning.

According to fire officials, Ortiz’s fellow workers had lifted the branch off him before emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene. Ortiz had been working with Danilo Tree Service and Landscape for five months, Maria Jose Aguilera, Ortiz’s widow, told Channel 2. The couple had just gotten married in June, the news station reported.

Ortiz leaves behind a household that includes his wife, two daughters and mother-in-law, according to a GoFundMe page set up to raise money for funeral expenses and to help his family.

Credit: Provided by Marlene Vargas

Credit: Provided by Marlene Vargas

“Abimael was a ray of sunshine that made people happy wherever he went with his unmatched charisma,” Gloria Gutierrez, Ortiz’s pastor at Iglesia Bethesda and creator of the GoFundMe, wrote on the fundraising page.

“He was an active member of the church, and there wasn’t a single person he wasn’t friends with. He often stayed after church services; he never wanted to leave. He was everybody’s friend,” Gutierrez told Channel 2.

Ortiz’s younger sister, Marlene Vargas, remembered him as a caring brother, supportive father and doting husband. The second-youngest of four siblings, she said family members called him “bebito.”

“His siblings will always remember him for his great smile and his jokes,” Vargas said. “I want everyone to remember him as he was — loving, genuine and always with a bright smile.”

Created Saturday, the page had raised a little more than $2,500 as of Monday afternoon.