No. 9: Florida A&M drum major a hazing homicide victim

FAMU drum major Robert ChampionFlorida A&M University drum major Robert Champion, a Georgia native, was beaten on a team bus and rendered unconscious leading to his death from a hazing incident.

Robert Champion, a 26-year-old drum major with the FAMU marching band, collapsed and died within an hour of a hazing incident aboard a bus on Nov. 19, during which he suffered multiple blunt trauma blows to his body a tragedy that not only made headlines throughout the sunshine state, but across the country.

The victim's parents have announced they will sue the college.

An autopsy by the Orange County Medical Examiner's office determined the death of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University student a homicide resulting from a hazing.

"Immediately after the hazing incident, he complained of thirst and fatigue; minutes later, he noted loss of vision and soon after had a witnessed arrest," the medical examiner stated in a news release by the Orange County Sheriff's Office. "These symptoms are consistent with hypotension or shock. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation ensued with aspiration of stomach contents into his airway."

The autopsy also revealed "extensive contusions of his chest, arms, shoulder, and back with extensive hemorrhage within the subcutaneous fat, between fascial planes and within deep muscles. There was also evidence of crushing of areas of subcutaneous fat. He had no injuries to internal organs from the blunt trauma or any bone fractures. He had no evidence of natural disease except for a slightly enlarged heart with a normal left ventricular wall."

The autopsy report concluded, "Based on the short period of time following the blunt trauma, premorbid symptoms, his collapse and dramatic drop in hemoglobin and hematocrit (indicating a significant rapid blood loss), and the extensive hemorrhage within his soft tissues, including deep muscles, it is our opinion that the death of Robert Champion, a 26-year-old male, is the result of hemorrhagic shock due to soft tissue hemorrhage, incurred by blunt force trauma sustained during a hazing incident."

The autopsy was performed by Dr. Sara Irrgang, associate medical examiner with Dr. Jan Garavaglia, chief medical examiner, in attendance.

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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer, the award-winning 24/7 internet newspaper in Lake Mary serving Central Florida via HeadlineSurfer.com. Florida's first around-the-clock newspaper was launched April 7, 2008, in New Smyrna Beach, initially as NSBNews.net and VolusiaNews.net. Headline Surfer is a registered trademark of NSB News LLC. Frederick was the top winner in the 2012 Florida Press Club contest: 1st place for Blog Writing & 3rd place each for General News Writing, Public Safety Reporting & Best Online Presence (with social media). He's received 18 major journalism awards as a breaking news, investigative reporter & city editor for daily newspapers in Florida, Massachusetts, New York & Connecticut since the mid-1980s. 
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