Monday, May 10, 2010

Death Comes to Campus

A 44 year old graduate student jumped off the fifth floor of a parking garage at work today.  The parking garage I park in.  In fact, he landed about 50 feet from where my car was parked today.  He jumped off the fifth floor stairwell at 10:45 am this morning - he died.  Talk about a creepy and sad way to start your week.  And seeing that I work and handle admissions/records in the Graduate School and we have so much contact with our students, it didn't take long before we figured out who it was- hours before his name was released to the press.

We're pretty sure he was a somewhat troubled guy.  We had some recent contact with him that led us to believe something may not have been right in hindsight - but nothing very indicative at the time.  But then, who commits suicide with complete clarity and things going great in your life?

I heard the sirens but thought nothing of it, even though I could tell they were very close to my building.  (My building is attached to the parking garage.)  And then the rumor mill started but was quickly squashed when we all got a pop up message on our computers telling us what had happened.  However at first it was just specified as a graduate student and I started worrying about all the graduate assistants in our office.  When they released the age/gender, I felt a little better knowing it was none of the wonderful students in our office.

As horrified as I was to think of someone doing that, I think I was even more affected by thinking about the poor passersby that saw it happen or saw the immediate aftermath before the police and paramedics arrived.  I am grateful that no one else was hurt as a result of his actions as where he jumped is a highly traveled area on foot and by car.  Based on the time he did it was right before 11am classes and when the foot traffic swells.  I'm sure there were at least 100 people in that vicinity when it happened.  I'm so glad I didn't see it.  Just seeing the graphic photos of the scene that the student newspaper posted online (and then took down) were enough - the body had been removed but the blood spots and clothing of the victim were still there.  And I absolutely hated that when I left today I had to drive over the spot.  I felt a chill go through me when I did.

So I'm thinking of that man's family tonight and of all the students and staff that saw that today.  I hope they can find some peace.


Heather said...

That's awful. So sorry.

Erin said...

Okay, so that explains why when I was at Superfresh that morning, I heard siren after siren heading in that direction. I knew it had to be something really bad because rarely do I hear THAT many sirens back to back and all at once...

That's awful! :(