Kingston,Ontario,Canada Police believe an 18-year-old first-year engineering student at Queen's University died Monday after accidentally falling from the window of his residence room.
"That's what our investigators believe, it was a fall from a building," Police Chief Stephen Tanner told the Whig-Standard Wednesday.
Tanner said police don't know how Cameron Bruce fell but they are investigating whether alcohol played a role in his death.
"I believe that there is some evidence that he was consuming some alcohol the night before or in fairness he was possibly at an event where alcohol was being consumed, but even that would be unfair to say he was (drinking) because I can't say that," Tanner said.
"It's both sad and disturbing to us to see this and it does, of course, raise concern but we hope to be led by the police on this," said John Pierce, associate vice-principal and dean of student affairs at Queen's, in an interview.
Tanner said investigators are still interviewing people who were with Bruce on Sunday, before he returned to Victoria Hall.
Early Monday morning, Bruce's body was found by other students on the grass at the rear of the six-floor, co-ed building, the university's biggest residence. It houses more than 800 students.
It's not clear if Bruce lived in a sixth-floor residence room, but at mid morning Monday, as police investigated the scene, a sixth-floor window above the spot where his body was found appeared to be open, with a large piece of cloth or fabric hanging out through the opening.
Bruce was a native of a small Connecticut town, Westport. He has been described as a model student who excelled academically, was an accomplished musician who played in a youth orchestra and was captain of his high school varsity swim team.
Police have ruled out foul play and have no information to suggest Bruce killed himself.
"There is absolutely no indication it was (intentional) or a suicide," Tanner said.
A post mortem was conducted Tuesday but investigators are still waiting for detailed toxicology test results. Those tests will tell investigators whether Bruce had been drinking or whether he had taken anything else that might have left him impaired.
"You want to rule out any other sorts of drugs that he may have consumed or been given," Tanner said. "There's no reason to believe that he did but it's good due diligence to find out that he wasn't taking some other sort of prescription or illicit drug that caused the accident," Tanner said.
Tanner said police have not located any witnesses to the incident that led to Bruce's death.
"We don't know exactly how it happened if no one saw it," he said.
Investigators have appealed for anyone who knew Bruce or anyone who had contact with him on Sunday to contact them.
"Our investigators are still interviewing people that were with (Bruce) that preceding evening or night prior to his being back in residence," Tanner said.
Tanner said alcohol is a problem at all universities.
"Alcohol in a university may be an issue and could be a part of this situation, but we're never going to know, probably," he said. "We may end up knowing alcohol levels, if there was any, but did that cause (his death)?"
Pierce said the administration does not have any information about whether Bruce was drinking the evening before his death.
"That's really what were leaving to the police to help determine for us through their investigation and through their questioning of students and people involved on campus," he said.
Pierce said he was named Wednesday to head an investigation of the incident for the school. He hopes to gather information quickly from officials in the residence, student dons and anyone else who can help.
The Queen's review also will be guided by police findings, Pierce said.
"We do understand that alcohol consumption is a big social issue among the university-age population but we certainly work hard and dedicate lots of resources to indicating to students that drinking is not the way to go and underage drinking is particularly problematic," Pierce said.
Bruce was "actively engaged in frosh week activities," organized by the school's student engineering society, according to a statement posted on the society's website by society president Victoria Pleavin.
Reached Wednesday, she would not answer questions.
"I don't want to speculate on anything," Pleavin said.
In her statement, she said Bruce was "held in the highest regards" by fellow students.
Excessive drinking is a well documented problem at Queen's University, especially during frosh week, and at other times when upper-year students stage drinking parties and events sometimes dubbed "slosh the frosh," in which the objective is to ensure that new students become intoxicated.
Last year, a governance body at the university, the senate orientation activities review board, heard that there were several incidents "where first-year students were put at serious personal risk during parties with upper-year students who had been their Orientation leaders," according to the minutes of the April 7, 2009 meeting.
The information was presented by then-principal Tom Williams and vice-principal Patrick Deane.
"The parties which are known by students by such names as 'Slosh the Frosh, 'Wail the Gael,' 'Sauce the Boss,' Wreck the Frec,' etc. put students at risk and must not continue," the minutes state.
Gaels, Bosses and Frecs are orientation leaders for the arts, commerce and engineering students, respectively.
The senate board was told that it was expected to take the lead on ensuring that the "dangerous practices associated with these ritualized gatherings" came to an immediate end.
Pierce said the school has redoubled its efforts to send the message to students and student leaders about responsible conduct.
"The orientation this year we felt has gone very well," he said. "The organized frosh events are now all dry events. We do work with the students who are organizing these things to ensure there is a kind of demonstrated civic responsibility."
Regional coroner Dr. Roger Skinner said he can not comment on Bruce's death.
"At this point, it's primarily a coroner's investigation," he said.
The coroner's office assumes the lead role in sudden death investigations where there is no foul play.
If there are issues of public safety or public health, an inquest can be called.
According to the Globe and Mail, Bruce was looking forward to having fun at Queen's.
"I don't know him to be an outrageous partier," third-year Queen's student Ian Winick told the newspaper. "He was a fun guy but he wasn't out of control."
Winick also is a native of Westport, Conn. He told the Globe that he worked with Bruce at a museum in Westport over the summer.
"I haven't talked to him much, but I know he was looking forward to having fun," Winick was quoted as telling the newspaper.