FAIRFAX, Va. - Police at George Mason University are investigating a student's death after they believe the student took a hallucinogenic drug on Saturday.
A university spokesman said just before 5 p.m., the 19-year-old student reportedly ran through a window on the fifth floor of a residence hall after taking the drug. He fell and was unresponsive, then died at a local hospital.
Officials worry the drug may be circulating on George Mason's campus. They are encouraging anyone who has the drug to contact police and turn it in in accordance with the university's amnesty policy.
On Monday, the university identified the student as Tristan Medina, a sophomore. FOX 5 has learned he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. The fraternity held a vigil for the student Sunday night.
Medina graduated from Massaponax High School in Fredericksburg where he was a standout running back on the football team. According to Medina's former high school coach Eric Ludden, the 19-year-old was a humble athlete who was a star on the football field and talented in the classroom as well.
Ludden said his entire team is in mourning, especially because Medina's younger brother currently plays on Massaponax’s football team.
“He was really loved by his teammates and people at school,” said Ludden. “You know, it was very evident. He was very easygoing. He was basically a star running back, but he did not have that attitude that sometimes people get when they maybe get a big head. He was never like that.”
University police said it is unclear exactly what drug Medina took that led to his fall and it will unlikely be answered until the medical examiner's report is finished, which could take weeks.
Ludden said he doesn’t want Medina remembered for one bad decision, but for his infectious attitude and the kind of student, son and brother he was.
“I have taught and coached for 34 years and there have been many kids that have experimented with drugs and have gotten into alcohol and had issues with that,” the football coach said. “It didn't make them bad kids. Tristan never did that. Tristan was never a kid that was into the party scene or with party kids, and so for this to happen is a shock and what I don't want is for people to think that is what he was all about.”
George Mason University President Ángel Cabrera said in a statement:
Dear George Mason University community,
During this past weekend, a student died in an unfortunate incident that may have involved drug use. I join his family, friends, professors and classmates in mourning this painful and irreparable loss.
There are still many questions to answer, and our police department continues to investigate.
One thing we know is that drug use is neither recreational nor safe. It can be extremely dangerous. The stakes are very high and they can be life-threatening.
If you are concerned about yourself or someone else, please seek help. The university has many resources available. You can contact Mason’s Student Support and Advocacy Center at 703-993-3686, Student Health Center at 703-993-2831 or Counseling and Psychological Services at 703- 993-2380.
The university maintains a medical amnesty program for students who proactively and responsibly speak up and help avoid dangerous situations.
I beg all of you to be safe and keep an eye on one another.