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Baruch College fraternity 'ritual' death ruled a homicide, coroner says

By Rande Iaboni, CNN
updated 7:37 PM EST, Fri February 14, 2014
Baruch College freshman Chun
Baruch College freshman Chun "Michael" Deng, 19, died in December.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Chun "Michael" Deng died of "closed head injuries," coroner's office says
  • Deng fell and struck his head during "glass ceiling" ritual, affidavit says
  • District attorney expects to file charges

New York (CNN) -- The death of a New York college student during a fraternity ritual in Pennsylvania has been ruled a homicide, the coroner's office said Friday.

Baruch College freshman Chun "Michael" Deng, 19, died in December of "closed head injuries ... due to blunt force head trauma," said Mary Wallace of the Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, coroner's office.

In a statement Friday, Baruch College said it "supports the ongoing efforts of Monroe County law enforcement to hold responsible those involved in the tragic death."

The college had said Deng died while participating in an unsanctioned fraternity pledging event and that it has a "zero tolerance policy regarding hazing."

Student dies after frat 'ritual'

Charges are expected in Deng's death, Monroe County District Attorney E. David Christine said in December.

More than 30 members of Pi Delta Psi were conducting a ritual outdoors for new pledges called the "glass ceiling," according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by CNN.

The objective was for Deng, who was blindfolded and wearing a backpack filled with a 20-pound bag of sand, to navigate toward someone who was calling for him "while other fraternity brothers physically prevent that from happening," witnesses said, according to the affidavit.

Deng fell backward, struck his head and was unconscious and unresponsive immediately after he fell, the document states.

Pi Delta Psi Fraternity Inc. said after Deng's death that it had "revoked and terminated all affiliation with the Baruch Colony," as the fraternity is known.

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