Police pursue investigation in Piazza death

Answers continue to be sought regarding the death of Timothy Piazza.

“One of our students is gone for no fault of his own, unnaturally. We know that for a fact that he died of trauma,” said State College police Lt. Keith Robb. “The only thing we can do is do an investigation, follow the evidence and present that evidence to the district attorney and determine if criminal charges are warranted.”

Piazza, 19, was a Penn State sophomore who died Saturday at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center of injuries suffered in an accidental fall, according to the Dauphin County coroner. The incident occurred at Beta Theta Pi fraternity on Burrowes Street.

Police are investigating the surrounding circumstances.

Robb said Wednesday that officers are still gathering facts and evidence, including executing a search for the surveillance system DVR. He said the house has about 15 cameras.

Robb said police are also investigating why the people involved waited so long to call for help.

Piazza fell around 11 p.m. Thursday. The call for help came at 10:49 a.m. Friday.

“If you are hosting a party or someone’s at your house and they suffer a medical emergency, the No. 1 priority is to get that person medical care. We can deal with the ramifications later,” Robb said.

The long lapse of time, a fall and the fraternity involvement is reminiscent of another campus incident: the September 2009 death of Joseph Dado, 18.

Dado’s death was also ruled an accident. Officials said he fell about 15 feet from a ledge linking the Hosler Building on campus to another building, hitting his head at the bottom of an exterior stairwell.

Hosler is located across from the Beta Theta Pi house on Burrowes Street.

In Dado’s case, two fraternities faced repercussions. Alpha Tau Omega was fined $500 for an alcohol violation and given 70 days of community service. Phi Gamma Delta, the last place Dado was seen, was fined $100. Both were also suspended.