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New details released in Penn State student’s death

State College police are investigating the death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza. According to police, Piazza died over the weekend from injuries sustained at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity on Friday.
State College police are investigating the death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza. According to police, Piazza died over the weekend from injuries sustained at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity on Friday. Centre Daily Times, file

State College police Lt. Keith Robb provided new details in the death of Timothy Piazza, a Penn State student who died over the weekend.

Piazza allegedly fell down basement stairs at about 11 p.m. Thursday at Beta Theta Pi’s fraternity house on Penn State’s campus, according to Robb. Piazza, a sophomore who was a brother in the fraternity, was unconscious and unresponsive the next morning when first responders were notified by a caller about Piazza’s condition.

Police responded to the call at the fraternity house at 10:49 a.m. Friday. Piazza was then taken to Mount Nittany Medical Center and later flown to Hershey Medical Center, where he died.

The investigation is ongoing, and a cause and manner of death has not yet been determined, according to Robb. Fraternity members are reportedly cooperating with detectives and will provide police with video surveillance at the fraternity house.

Beta Theta Pi has been suspended by Penn State and put on temporary “cease and desist” by the Interfraternity Council and the fraternity’s national organization, according to a release, for the duration of the investigation.

During that time, the fraternity will be prohibited from hosting or participating in any fraternity or sorority activities, including new member or pledging activities, according to Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers. Beta Theta Pi will not be considered a recognized student organization, pending results of the investigation.

“The university’s Office of Student Conduct will conduct and investigative a review, which will be used to inform Penn State’s conduct process and will ultimately determine if the organization and/or any individuals violated Penn State code of conduct,” Powers said in an email.

Our deepest sympathy goes out to Tim’s family and friends during this mournful time,” she said. “Our Student Affairs staff, through CAPS, is reaching out to students who desire counseling. Anyone who feels they need assistance should not hesitate to contact CAPS.”

CAPS is the Counseling and Psychological Services at Penn State.

State College police Chief John Gardner said officers are still working through the investigation and more information will be released when it is available.

“This is a sad affair here,” Gardner said. “We’re working through this but also being respectful of the family at this point in time.”

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