New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie today called the suicide of Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi an "unspeakable tragedy" and said he can't imagine how the two students accused of secretly filming Clementi can sleep at night "knowing that they contributed to driving that young man" to suicide.
The governor spoke hours after a body that was pulled from the Hudson River was identified as Clementi. The student leaped to his death after his roommate allegedly secretly filmed him during a "sexual encounter" with a man and posted it live on the Internet,
The medical examiner's office said an autospy revealed the 18-year-old had drowned and suffered blunt impact injuries to his torso.
Christie grew emotional when discussing Clementi's death.
"As the father of a 17-year-old…I can't imagine what those parents are feeling today, I can't. You send your son to school to get an education with great hopes and aspirations, and I can't imagine what those parents are feeling today," he said.
The governor also wondered about the two students accused of taping Clementi, bragging about it online and then trying to catch him on video a second time.
"There might be some people who can take that type of treatment and deal with it, and there might be others, as this young man obviously was, who was much more greatly affected by it," Christie said. "I have to tell you, I don't know how those two folks are going to sleep at night, knowing that they contributed to driving that young man to that alternative."
The governor said he would not push to have the case prosecuted as a hate crime and would leave that up to the prosecutor, and Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan today indicated he would consider bias as an aggravating factor in bringing charges against the two students.
"Now that two individuals have been charged with invasion of privacy, we will be making every effort to assess whether bias played a role in the incident, and, if so, we will bring appropriate charges,'' Kaplan said.
Clementi's friends who have been reeling since news of the suicide was confirmed Wednesday by the student's family.
"I am just devastated that this happened, especially to such an amazing person," Christina Guentert wrote to ABC News in an e-mail. "Tyler was a remarkable person in many ways; he was always kind, generous, sweet and loyal.
"He always had a smile on his face, and would joke around with me during class even on bad days," wrote Guentert, who went to school with Clementi for seven years in Ridgewood, N.J. "Tyler came off as innocent and sweet, the kind of person that you could rely on and go to for anything."
Clementi was enrolled in Rutger's music program and was an accomplished violinist.
"Not only was Tyler incredibly intelligent, but he was an amazing violin player," said Guentert. "He stood out at every school concert, and never seemed to get nervous. The music really came from his heart."
Items belonging to the Rutgers student were found by the George Washington Bridge last week, according to authorities. Clementi's freshman ID card and driver's license were in the wallet.
Clementi's post on his Facebook page, dated Sept. 22 at 8:42 p.m. read, "Jumping off the gw bridge sorry."