Body of alumnus found at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York

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Police entering the CII building with guns drawn.
Photo Credit: Student Simon Sarris
The east side of the CII. The stairwell in question is visible by the round windows.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The body of Anson Tripp, 29, of Amherst, Massachusetts, a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute alumnus was found in the South East stairwell of the CII building of the school's Troy, New York campus by a college employee at approximately 10 AM. The former student had driven to RPI that morning from his home in Amherst, Massachusetts. Tripp left his home in Amherst in the morning and drove to Rensselaer, where he entered the CII and climbed to the top of one of the stairwells and apparently jumped to his death. He suffered multiple broken bones and head trauma in the jump, and his body came to rest between the fourth and fifth floors.

In a letter to the school community, President Shirley Jackson begins:

I am sorry to report that there has been a fatality on the Troy Campus this morning. In order to ensure the safety of all members of the Rensselaer Community and to allow the Troy Police and Public Safety to secure the campus, Rensselaer will cancel all classes and close its offices on the Troy Campus effective 12:00 noon today. All athletic activities will be postponed until further notice.

Initially authorities said the wound was "consistent with that from a gunshot," however an autopsy determined that the broken bones and trauma to the head were sustained during the fall. Earlier in the day, police indicated that "it’s possible the victim fell from the ninth floor after being injured somehow." (WNYT) People in the building had reported hearing shots, but authorities were unable to confirm a shooting and later determined there was no weapon involved.

The building was locked down as the Troy police emergency response team and Colonie SWAT team went room to room securing the facility. School president Dr. Jackson (quoted above) urged students and all non-essential staff to also leave campus (except for the dorms).

Tripp was in the class of 2000 with majors in computer science and mathematics, and a member of Alpha Phi Omega, Epsilon Zeta chapter.

Memorial service were held at Grace Episcopal Church on Wednesday, April 4th at 3PM EST.