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 serving the Daytona Beach-New Smyrna Beach / Sanford-Orlando metropolitan region via HeadlineSurfer.com, launched in 2008, as Florida's first around-the-clock online newspaper. Frederick is among Florida's most experienced reporters specializing in breaking news & investigative reporting and winner of multiple state, regional & national journalism awards in Florida, New York, Massachusetts & Connecticut. The first of his three books, "Creepy Ass Cracker" (842 pages, Xlibris), hits bookstores this Fall. 
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