The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


USM community mourns student’s death

Abigail Troth
Flowers are lined along the edge of the fifth floor at the 4th Street Parking Garage, where a student tragically died on the night of Sept. 28. Students have gathered to mourn and express condolences, devastated by the loss.

A student at the University of Southern Mississippi has died after a fall from the 4th Street Parking Garage on the night of Thursday, Sept. 28.

Campus police were called to the scene after students reported the unidentified male victim had fallen from the fifth floor of the parking garage.

Witnesses reported that the victim stood on the ledge of the fifth floor and made the sign of the Holy Trinity before the incident occurred. Alander Neal, a student at the university, unfortunately witnessed the student’s actions moments before the devastating event.

“It took us a while to get off of the fifth floor, just because of the emotional impact it had on all of us,” said Neal.
The victim was in critical condition once police arrived. Paramedics transported the victim to a local hospital, where, in the early morning hours, he succumbed to injuries sustained. The Southern Miss Police Department reported that there is no criminal activity suspected as the investigation continues.

“Right now we have a tragedy, and it’s an isolated incident involving just that student,” said Rusty Keyes, USM Assistant Vice President of Public Safety and Chief of Police. “There’s no continuing threat to the university, there is no threat to the university.”

President Joe Paul announced the student’s death in a statement to the university.

“To the student’s family and friends, I share in your grief,” Dr. Paul said. “To the entire Southern Miss community, know that I and many, many others care for you.”

Immediately after the incident was reported, students and faculty gathered to grieve for the fallen Eagle. Student Sarah Boone organized a vigil for the student on Monday, Oct. 2, with candles and letters to the Student Government Association to remind the community that tragedies like this cannot happen again.

Students have been paying their respects at the parking garage by laying flowers and candles in remembrance. Lyla Rasco, a freshman, lined the edge of the fifth floor with black, yellow and white flowers out of respect for the student.

“It’s not a small thing,” Rasco said. “It’s a big deal. It’s our fellow peers, it’s our students. Even if you don’t know somebody, they may be next to you in class, or you may walk past them.”

As the USM community grieves, university officials encourage the use of valuable college resources such as these highlighted in Paul’s statement:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which can be reached by calling 988.

If you are concerned about a friend, classmate, or anyone who is part of the Southern Miss community, you may anonymously complete a CARES report. If your concern requires immediate assistance, call University Police at 601-266-4986.

The University also offers an Employee Assistance Program for faculty and staff. Through the EAP, trained clinicians will listen to concerns and help you or your family members with any issues, including anxiety, depression, and stress.

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