Georgetown junior’s death prompts MPD investigation

(U-WIRE) – A Georgetown University junior died last Tuesday afternoon after sustaining a head wound from a fall in the parking lot of a library on GU’s campus.

Metropolitan Police have not ruled whether David Shick’s fall to the ground was a result of an altercation that occurred around 2:30 a.m. Feb. 18 with another group of Georgetown students.

Lt. Patrick Burke of the 2nd District Metropolitan Police said investigators will make no new comment on potential charges in the death until investigators talk to all parties involved and an autopsy determines the cause of Shick’s death.

MPD Sgt. Michael Farish said there would have to be a ruling in Mr. Shick’s death before any charges are filed. A spokesman in the Medical Examiner’s office told The Washington Post that autopsy tests will probably be completed in a couple of weeks.

The Washington Post reported in an online report that two university soccer players have retained D.C. attorney David Schertler. Schertler did not reveal the names of his clients.

Shick, of Long Valley, N.J., was treated by and transported in an ambulance operated by undergraduate emergency technicians who took Shick to Georgetown University Hospital, where he was placed in the Intensive Care Unit’s Neurology Department.

According to one witness, the altercation included a group of about 15 people standing in the driveway of the library, which opens onto Prospect Street. Some members of the group were pushing and shoving each other, the witness said.

Without seeing him fall, the witness saw Shick on the ground and blood flowing from the back of his head, eventually flowing down the road seven or eight feet.

Joe O’Neil, who lives on 37th Street in view of the library parking lot, said he had a nearby Manny and Olga’s pizza delivery man dial 911 after two females ran to his house for help. O’Neil said he went to the scene and placed a jacket under Shick’s head to stop the bleeding.

Dean of Students James A. Donahue said the university has not yet considered disciplinary action for any of the students who were involved. Campus police has turned the investigation over to MPD.

University President Leo J. O’Donovan flew from an off-campus event to perform a memorial service for Shick Wednesday night. In a brief statement on Shick’s death, O’Donovan said our deepest condolences are with the family, friends and loved ones of David Shick.We are profoundly saddened by this immeasurable loss.

O’Donovan returned yesterday to the Boca Raton Resort and Club in Boca Raton, Fla., where the university is holding its annual John Carroll Awards. The event is attended by Georgetown’s board of directors and prominent alumni.

Shick’s death sparked a flurry of news coverage, landing on local newscasts and the front page of The Washington Post. Some students and staff found the attention, at times, unwanted.

It’s been … very intense, and in some instances (there have been) some really inappropriate instances, a communications staff member said of the local media. One Post reporter, the staff member said, queried Shick’s family about his death while standing in a receiving line at Wednesday night’s memorial service.

We got her out of that situation, the staff member said.

This recent incident comes at a time when local residents and members of the university community are questioning the level of alcohol consumption by students. MPD questioned the role played by alcohol in the altercation.

It appears there had been some alcohol consumption by various parties, Farish said. Farish said Shick, 20, had consumed alcohol as well, but he would not discuss the amount of consumption.

An appointed Task Force on Campus Culture, comprised of students and faculty, reported that two years ago more than 150 students were hospitalized with alcohol-related toxicity.

In the wake of Shick’s death, Georgetown Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Art Schultz said he will call on area restaurants to increase their efforts to prevent both underage and of-age binge drinking.

When a bartender allows anyone to become inebriated, it’s patently wrong, said Schultz, who is the local ANC’s Alcoholic Beverage Commission liaison. We’ve got to take a more mature attitude.

In a one-month MPD sting on underage drinking last spring, police arrested approximately 25 Georgetown students for underage drinking in area bars.

Some students were skeptical of major change, both in alcohol consumption and the frequency of alcohol-related student fights.

Altercations are becoming more popular, said Aziz El-Tahch, a senior class representative. Guys get drunk; guys fight. You get beer muscles.

Donahue said he is considering a renewal of conversational events that warn students about the pitfalls of drinking. University freshmen attended programs such as Playing Jeopardy, a game show featuring questions on social dangers, and a series of Basic Talks.

Donahue said the Shick incident will make students think about the choices they make.

When you’re confronted with the profundity of death and the taking of a young life…you’re confronted with a reality, he said.

El-Tahch disagreed.

In a month people will forget, he said.

Donahue said Shick’s death was as sad an incident as he had seen in his seven years as the university’s dean of students.

It doesn’t get any worse than a parent losing their children, Donahue said.

-Jeff DeMartino
The Hoya (Georgetown U.)

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