Source of booze probed in latest State College balcony fall

mcarroll@centredaily.comJanuary 23, 2014 

Police are investigating who supplied alcohol to a party that was allegedly underway early Sunday morning when a 19-year-old man fell from the balcony of a downtown State College apartment building.

The young man, who was taken the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, told investigators he was drinking beer and vodka and was using drugs on the balcony, according to a search warrant filed in the case.

Another young man, the one who lived in the apartment, initially denied that he was hosting a party and said he didn’t know someone had fallen from the balcony, police wrote in the warrant.

The man later told police that several people had been over that night and he had been drinking, but said the student who fell had been drinking before coming to the apartment.

Police arriving for a report that someone had fallen said the apartment appeared to have been recently cleaned and had a strong odor of cleaning solution.

A witness reported that people were coming and going from the apartment all night, and that there were shouts from inside around 1:45 a.m. that someone had fallen from the balcony.

Police are seeking evidence from the apartment and blood alcohol results from Mount Nittany Medical Center.

The incident is at least the sixth time since October 2012 that someone has fallen or jumped from a downtown building.

In October 2012, Penn State cheerleader Paige Raque fell nearly 40 feet from a window in Calder Commons apartments. She suffered serious brain and hip injuries, but recovered.

In December 2012, a then-19-year-old woman fell from a fraternity house window. She fell 8 or 9 feet, according to police, and suffered multiple lacerations.

In April, former Penn State student Joshua A. Zornberg died after lunging headfirst through an open window on the sixth-floor of the University Gateway apartment building and falling to the street below. His death was ruled a suicide.

In November, 19-year-old Penn State student Andrew Shearer was injured after falling off a second-floor balcony at The Palmerton. He broke his leg.

Also in November, Penn State student Conor F. MacMannis died after falling from a ninth-floor balcony of Penn Tower onto Beaver Avenue. Police said psychedelic drugs likely played a role in his fall.

And last month, Penn State student Andrew M. Magargle died by jumping from the Fraser Street parking garage. His death was ruled a suicide.

Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter.

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