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Baruch hazing death: College freshman killed in hazing ritual ruled a homicide

CBS News
CBS NewsMichael Deng, 19, died from severe trauma after being repeatedly tackled by Pi Delta Psi fraternity brothers in the freezing Pocono Mountains.

A Baruch hazing death has officially been ruled a homicide, putting former members of the Pi Delta Psi fraternity brothers at Baruch College in Pennsylvania on notice that arrests may be forthcoming.

According to NBC News on Friday, college freshman Michael Deng, 19, died from severe head trauma after undergoing a rigorous hazing ritual on Dec. 8 by members of the Pi Delta Psi fraternity brothers while the group gathered in the Pocono Mountains.

According to investigators, Deng was repeatedly tackled while lugging a knapsack full of 20 pounds of sand in the backyard of a rented home in rural Tunkhannock Township.

Approximately 30 members of Pi Delta Psi gathered at the home and took part in the hazing. After Deng collapsed, officials said he was left suffering for well over an hour before paramedics were called. Police say the frat brothers were “frantically Googling his symptoms” as they tried to decide what to do.

A search of the rented house also turned up hallucenogenic mushrooms, paddles and photocopied documents printed off the Internet on how to torture someone.

Pocono Mountain Regional Police Chief Harry Lewis said the boys “just kept doing it over and over,” referring to their repeated tackling and physical beatings on the freshman, outside on the freezing lawn, during an activity they called "The Gauntlet."

Deng passed out at 5 a.m. that morning, and was declared dead shortly thereafter.

According to NBC, “Baruch College has permanently banned the fraternity, which described itself as an Asian cultural organization. Pi Delta Psi claimed the retreat was unsanctioned and violated its no-hazing policy.”