San Diego State student from Jacksonville dies after attending fraternity party

Dylan Hernandez graduated from Bishop Kenny High School

San Diego State University announced Monday the death of a freshman from Jacksonville who was hospitalized after attending a fraternity party.

Dylan Hernandez, 19, went to the party Wednesday, school officials said. Early Thursday, university police responded to a 911 call that a student needed medical attention at a residence hall. Hernandez, of Jacksonville, was taken to a hospital and died Sunday surrounded by his family, University President Adela de la Torre said in a statement to students and parents. 

"As a mother, nothing can replace the profound loss of a child, and the devastating heartbreak the family and their loved ones are experiencing,'' de la Torre said. 

Hernandez graduated in the spring from Bishop Kenny High School. A Bishop Kenny girls basketball coach, who was one of Hernandez's teachers, was upset about the death of her former student, but declined to make any comments until the school had been in contact with his family. News4Jax was told Monday evening that the school might issue a statement on Tuesday.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Hernandez's family.

The university police are investigating the circumstances but provided no further details about why Hernandez was hospitalized, or whether alcohol, hazing or other causes are suspected. 

CNN reports that Hernandez fell out his bunk bed on the sixth floor of the residence hall. According to a close friend, it was a six-foot drop that led to a head injury. 

A friend told police she put him back in the bed that night, but when she checked on him Thursday, she realized he was gravely injured and gave him CPR until paramedics arrived. 

“Horrible -- this is one of the worst things that happened to me in my life. It's a wreck," said friend Ethan Dzenis, who lives on the same floor and met Hernandez on the first day of the school year. "We had a lot of things in common. We both liked to play video games. We played basketball outside a numerous amount of times, played spike ball."

The San Diego Police Department would only take over the case if the death is ruled a homicide by the medical examiner's office, said spokesman Lt. Shawn Takeuchi.

Hernandez had been pledging to Phi Gamma Delta, a fraternity that was placed on probation in 2017 "after being found in violation of regulations pertaining to alcohol at off-campus fraternity events,'' according to the Daily Aztec, the student newspaper.

Phi Gamma Delta was among 14 fraternities suspended by de la Torre on Friday following Hernandez's hospitalization. The 14 are affiliated with the Interfraternity Council (IFC).  All its chapter organizations under the council were suspended amid allegations of misconduct, according to SDSU, which said the decision was made "given the severity of this incident, and as the safety and wellbeing of students is a primary concern of the university.'' 

De la Torre noted that all but three of the 14 Interfraternity Council-affiliated organizations were already under suspension or under investigation before Hernandez's death.

The university did not say why the other chapters were suspended or are being investigated. 

Evidence for a suspension can include discrimination, disorderly behavior, alcohol being served at sponsored events, drug use, the lack of insurance at a major event, and other violations of the student code, and de la Torre factored that information into her decision, the university said.

The chapters suspended also include Alpha Epsilon Pi, Delta Sigma Phi, Delta Upsilon, Kappa Alpha, Kappa Sigma, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Kappa Psi, Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Chi, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Theta Chi and Zeta Beta Tau.

Todd Shelton, spokesman for the North American Inter-Fraternity Conference, the parent organization of the Inter-Fraternity Council, said they have been in contact with university officials and are monitoring the investigation. He declined further comment on the suspensions, saying it would be inappropriate at the current time.

"We are heartbroken to learn of the death of the student at San Diego State University and offer our condolences to his family and friends,'' he said.

The university said the chapters will remain suspended until it determines its next steps.

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