Falls unavoidable, police near PSU admit
By Anna Orso
Published: Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
STATE COLLEGE — The death of a Penn State student who fell off a ninth-floor balcony is the third of its kind in State College in just over a year.
“These are random events that are going to happen everywhere, and it's just not going to be prevented,” said State College police Lt. Mark Argiro. “I can't think of one specific thing you could do, short of locking windows and balconies and labeling them ‘no access.' ”
Conor F. MacMannis, 20, of Stafford, Va., died from a head injury suffered in an accidental fall about 3:45 a.m. Saturday, according to Centre County Coroner Scott Sayers.
Police said a preliminary investigation revealed drugs and alcohol were involved; however, a full toxicology report won't be completed for about a week.
Argiro said between two to four people were in the apartment where MacMannis was a resident at the time of the accident, and it did not appear a rowdy party had been taking place.
In April, former Penn State student Joshua Zomberg died when he lunged out out a window of a sixth-floor apartment. His death was ruled a suicide.
In October 2012, Penn State cheerleader Paige Raque fell nearly 40 feet from a window during a party. She survived.
Argiro said State College police have had an ongoing project since 1998 meant to limit problems related to balconies, specifically objects being thrown off them during disturbances. To curb such issues, some buildings numbered balconies to increase accountability when balcony incidents occur.
But in terms of limiting accidental falls, Argiro said there's not much that can be done.
MacMannis' family was notified of his death, and Argiro said he “cannot describe the grief they're going through.”
The 20-year-old was a kinesiology major and a high jumper on the Penn State Erie track and field team.
Penn State is offering on-campus grief counseling, officials said in a statement.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic event,” university spokeswoman Annemarie Mountz said. “The death of any student is a terrible loss, and we send our deepest sympathy to his family and friends. Our Student Affairs staff has been in touch with the family and is providing counseling to others on campus through our Counseling and Psychological Services.”
Anna Orso is a freelance reporter based in State College.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Tobacco companies expected to contest Pennsylvania’s settlement on payments
- York teen suspended for asking Miss America to prom
- Pennsylvania sting scouted private liquor store sites
- Miss America asks York school to rethink prom question suspension
- Philanthropist helps waitress become nurse
- Ex-Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff rejected as candidate to head Penn State investigation