Hazing Death of Baruch Fraternity Pledge Declared a Homicide

PHOTO: Baruch College student Chun "Michael" Deng died during a fraternity initiation ritual.Handout
Baruch College student Chun "Michael" Deng died during a fraternity initiation ritual.

The death of a New York college freshman who suffered fatal head trauma during a hazing ritual has been declared a homicide, according to the coroner's office.

The Luzerne County, Pa., Coroner's office said Chun "Michael" Deng, 19, died from head injuries due to blunt force trauma and declared his death as a homicide on Friday.

A Pennsylvania District Attorney's office has announced it expects to file criminal charges in the Baruch College freshman's death.

Monroe County District Attorney David Christine told ABC station WABC-TV in New York that the exact charges will not be determined until a police investigation into Deng's death is concluded. It is not clear how many students allegedly involved in the hazing death will be charged.

Deng sustained fatal head trauma during a fraternity hazing ritual last December at a Pi Delta Psi weekend retreat in Tunkhannock Township, Pa., according to authorities.

The teen was allegedly blindfolded and forced to carry a 20-pound bag of sand while being tackled by other members of the Asian-American fraternity. At one point he was shoved and fell over, hitting his head, police said.

Police told ABC News that after Deng lost consciousness, other fraternity members brought him into the house, but they never called 911 for help. Instead they put him near the fire, changed his clothes and searched the Internet for information about his symptoms.

After two hours, Deng was finally taken to a local hospital by three of the fraternity members where he died two days later, said police.

"I am not a doctor, all I am saying is quicker medical intervention would have been beneficial," Pocono Mountain Regional Police Chief Harry Lewis said.

Police also said around 20 of the 30 fraternity brothers in the house had left between the time Deng was injured and before police arrived to interview the remaining members.

Those interrogated had tried to hide any items or memorabilia that would link them to their fraternity after one of the members at the hospital with Deng called and warned them in advance, Lewis said. They also initially denied but later admitted they had been carrying out a hazing ritual called a "glass ceiling" when Deng was injured.

The fraternity members were later suspended from the college.

Pi Delta Psi and Baruch College did not immediately respond to calls from ABC News to comment on Saturday.

The Associated Press contibuted to this report.