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University of Florida student falls from balcony, dies

UF community heartbroken by death of 20-year-old Ian Burns

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A 20-year-old University of Florida student died in a fall from a third-floor balcony at an apartment complex, authorities said.

It happened shortly after 6 p.m.on Sunday at the 13th Street Apartments, about a mile north of the UF campus.

Gainesville Police Department Lt. Paris Owens said witnesses called police when they saw Ian Burns fall.

An incident report said Burns was taken to UF Health Shands Hospital. It doesn't indicate when he died.

Burns was an engineering major from Riviera Beach who shone in the choir.

Students who live in the complex told News4Jax on Tuesday that they're shocked and heartbroken over his death.

"It is just absolutely devastating," UF student Howard Lin said. "It is rare that you hear of these type of situations, but especially someone so close in your major."

There was a somber mood Tuesday at the UF School of Music.

"Someone that we were close with is not here anymore," student Jack Baltz said. "That hits us all hard."

Student choral groups were talking about a tribute performance as the school brought in a counselor for those who need one. 

The report also didn't say how Burns fell, but police say foul play is not suspected.

"I am on my balcony pretty regularly. It seems like it is pretty sturdy, but I will definitely be more aware," said student Damani Eason. "It's pretty quiet and relaxing here."

As the investigation continues, UF students said their hearts go out to Burns' loved ones.

"Sympathies to the family and everyone that is affected by it," Lin said.

Sadly, this is not the first time that this has happened. In January 2016, a student who was also 20 years old fell off a balcony of another apartment complex off campus. He too died from his injuries.

Burns' family members told the Palm Beach Post that they’re planning a memorial for him this weekend. Family members said they had very few details about what happened and were trying to learn more.

The family said Burns was an Eagle Scout who began singing in the choir in fourth grade.


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