Some students at Baruch College face potentially serious charges after a 19-year-old freshman died during what's described as a brutal hazing incident, as police say they're not only in trouble for what they allegedly did, but for what they allegedly didn't do. NY1's Vivian Lee filed the following report.
TUNKHANNOCK TOWNSHIP, PA. - Pocono Mountain Regional Police say that time may have been a critical factor in the death of 19 year old Michael Deng.
Police say Deng was blindfolded and carrying a 20-pound load on his back during hazing for a Baruch College fraternity at at a rental house in Pennsylvania.
They say he went down, hit his head and lost consciousness after fraternity brothers hit him multiple times.
Police say it took at least 90 minutes before he was taken to a hospital.
"They did not seek medical attention right away. They did not call 911," said Chief Harry Lewis of the Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department. "They just took him inside the house, put him by the fire. They Googled some information, and then, they made a decision probably an hour or so later to drive him to a hospital, which is probably still 30 minutes away."
Baruch students in Manhattan were dismayed at the news.
"In those two hours at the hospital, he could have possible been saved," said one student. "He wouldn't have to go on the life support."
"Any decent human being would try to do anything immediately," said another.
The police chief says that some, but not all, fraternity paraphernalia were removed from the house.
Police say the fraternity members initially described the hazing as mere horseplay until some broke down.
Prosecutors say charges are likely.
"You kind of want there to be repercussions, serious repercussions," said one student.
"If he was your brother, you wouldn't want to cover this ordeal that's going on. You just want to go ahead and try to get to the safest place, bring him to the same place in order to figure stuff out," said another.
Lewis used the same argument to appeal to a handful of the 30 students who were there but have not yet to come forward to talk to police.
"If you're pledging loyalty that you have someone who's lost his life pledging your group, I think you owe it to him, and I think they owe it to their family of the victim to come forward and be honest," he said.
Charges are still unknown because the degree of deliberate violence or possible cover-up is yet to be determined.
Meanwhile, the school has suspended the fraternity's privileges, and its national organization has stopped all pledging activities across the country.