Emergency vehicles at the scene of a large gathering at UConn's X-Lot during Spring Weekend. Photo by Marie Brennan
The University of Connecticut student who was in critical condition for more than a week – after being found unconscious the first night of Spring Weekend by state police – died Saturday, May 1.
Jafar Karzoun, 20, of Milford, died at Hartford Hospital as a result of his injuries during a fight. He reportedly was punched, fell backward and hit his head.
State Police said they found Karzoun unconscious April 23 when they responded to a report of a fight at approximately 1:18 a.m. that Friday, near a pizza restaurant on campus on North Eagleville Road.
Karzoun was rushed to Windham Community Memorial Hospital and then flown by Life Star to Hartford Hospital.
According to an official in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the cause of Karzoun’s death has not yet been determined. “It is pending (and needs) further study,” an unidentified female at the Medical Examiner’s office said Monday.
She said the cause of death could take between seven and 12 weeks to determine.
State police said they interviewed witnesses at the incident and ultimately charged Edi Rapo, 19, of East Hartford, with second-degree assault, breach of peace, issuing a false statement and third-degree forgery.
Rapo, who police said is not a UConn student, appeared in Rockville Superior Court April 23 and was subsequently released on a $75,000 bond.
Rapo’s attorney said Rapo claims to have been threatened and was trying to defend someone else when the incident occurred.
Sgt. Kelly Grant of the State Police Public Information Office said police were speaking with state prosecutors Monday about whether Rapo could face more charges now that Karzoun has died.
Following Karzoun’s death, UConn President Michael Hogan sent an e-mail on Sunday, May 2 to members of the UConn community – including students, faculty and staff.
“I know each of us shares a sense of shock in the face of this tragedy,” he wrote.
“That this terrible tragedy coincided with Spring Weekend and subsequent to an off-campus gathering at Carriage House Apartments should cause us all to pause and consider how these unsponsored events may contribute to aggression and risk,” he wrote.
Hogan said university officials would re-examine “all aspects” of the weekend.
“I wish that UConn could be immune from the crimes that affect every community at one time or another,” he wrote. “But we are not.”
This is the second death to occur on the UConn campus since school began in the Fall. UConn football player Jasper Howard was stabbed and killed outside the Student Union in October 2009.
Spring Weekend is a three-day bash held the weekend before the final week of spring semester classes. It includes school-sponsored events, as well as unsanctioned off-campus parties which require extensive and expensive police and emergency medical services, largely due to the focus at these parties on drinking.
UConn – including students and administrators, town leaders and local citizens have worked together to develop strategies to keep students safe, and to keep out non-students, who tend to be the source of much of the violence. However, this senseless death occurred despite their best efforts.
This article includes reports from the New Haven Register and was edited and added to by HTNP.com Editor Brenda Sullivan
Posted May 4, 2010