WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Pennsylvania coroner has ruled the death of a New York City college student in what authorities have called a fraternity ritual a homicide.
A spokeswoman for the Luzerne County coroner’s office said Friday that the Dec. 8 death of 19-year-old Chun “Michael” Deng had been ruled a homicide. She referred all other inquiries to the Pocono Regional Mountain Police.
Monroe County District Attorney David Christine has said he plans to file criminal charges in the Baruch College freshman’s death.
Officials said about 30 Pi Delta Psi members spent that weekend at a home in Tunkhannock Township, Pa., about 100 miles west of New York City.
Authorities allege that Deng sustained a fatal brain injury after participating in an initiation ritual in the winter snow with three other pledges.
Police said Deng was blindfolded and wearing a backpack loaded with 20 pounds of sand when he was forced to run a gauntlet while fraternity brothers physically tried to keep him from passing through by repeatedly shoving him to the ground.
Deng was left “unconscious and unresponsive immediately after he fell” with “scratches and bruising on his knees,” according to a police affidavit. Investigators said Deng also had swelling to the back of his head.
After waiting at least an hour and a half, three of the brothers drove him to a hospital 30 miles away, authorities said. There, Deng’s mother arrived to find her son brain-dead and on life support. He died hours later.
A preliminary autopsy report showed Deng died of “closed head injuries due to blunt force trauma.”
Baruch College administrators said the school had no knowledge of the weekend retreat or even that Pi Delta Psi was rushing a pledge class.
The fraternity revoked and terminated all affiliation with its Baruch chapter following Deng’s death.
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