PULLMAN — Police do not believe hazing was involved in the Tuesday death of a 19-year-old Washington State University student at a fraternity in Pullman.
The Pullman Police Department announced Tuesday that Samuel Martinez, a WSU freshman from Bellevue, Wash., was found dead at the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity on Linden Street.
The Whitman County Coroner’s Office and Pullman police are working to determine Martinez’s cause and manner of death. The death may be alcohol-related, but the incident does not meet the definition of hazing according to Washington law, the department wrote in a news release Wednesday.
Martinez’s family released a statement that was distributed by WSU on Wednesday evening. Here is what it said:
“We want you to know and remember some things about Sam — his amazing athleticism, the way his eyes crinkled when he smiled, his sharp mind, his sense of humor, and his steadfast loyalty to his family and friends.
“Sam was a beautiful spark of light, a comet that came and went through our lives too quickly. We are overcome with grief. And we are so grateful for your prayers and well wishes through this unbearable loss.”
Officers and medics were dispatched at about 8:35 a.m. Tuesday when Martinez was reported unconscious and not breathing. Fraternity members performed CPR until medics arrived.
Whitman County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain Ron McMurray and the Office of the Dean of Students at WSU also responded to offer student support and counseling.
Students in need of support should contact the Office of the Dean of Students or the Counseling and Psychological Services staff at Cougar Health Services.
In response to this situation, all fraternities and sororities within the WSU Greek community have self-imposed an immediate suspension of all social events for the remainder of the semester, according to a statement from Phil Weiler, vice president for marketing and communications at WSU.
The Washington State Interfraternity Council and the university offered condolences to the Martinez’s family and friends in statements Tuesday.