Police investigating death of WSU fraternity member

VIDEO: Police investigate death of WSU fraternity member

PULLMAN, Wash. — Police are investigating the death of a 19-year-old Washington State University fraternity member Tuesday and say his death may be alcohol-related.

Police and family members have identified him as Samuel Martinez, from Bellevue.

Officers responded Tuesday around 8:35 a.m. to Alpha Tau Omega, located at 710 NE Linden St., to a call of someone unconscious and not breathing.

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"Fraternity members were preforming CPR as the responding officers arrived," said Cmdr Jake Opgenorth, with Pullman police.

Pullman police say they do not believe what happened involved hazing but say the fraternity did host a party the night before.

Martinez's death has Greek life at WSU suspending all social events for the rest of the semester.

"We have a lot of people we need to interview. We'd like to talk to all the members of the fraternity, everybody who was there when this happened or when they saw him last and just to find out what happened," Opgenorth said.

Martinez is from Bellevue and graduated this spring from Newport High School.

"Just kind of shocking, really," said Enoch Kwong, a senior at Newport High who knew Martinez.

Students at Newport High said Martinez was a talented soccer player. They also remember his kindness.

"I went to band camp with him, and during one of our trips, he was just super inclusive and brought me into his group when I didn't know anyone," Kwong said.

His family said in a statement:

"On Nov. 12, 2019, we lost our beautiful son and brother, Sam Martinez.
We want you to know and remember some things about Sam--his amazing athleticism, the way his eyes crinkled when he smiled, his sharp mind, his sense of humor and his steadfast loyalty to his family and friends.
Sam was a beautiful spark of light, a comet that came and went through our lives too quickly. We are overcome with grief. And we are so grateful for your prayers and well wishes through this unbearable loss."
--The Martinez family

The Whitman County coroner will release the manner and cause of death.

Washington State University released the following statement:

"It is with great sadness that Washington State University announces the loss of one of its students. Earlier today, the Pullman, WA Police Department confirmed the death of a 19-year-old male student at the Alpha Tau Omega house, an off-campus fraternity. The University extends its deepest condolences to all those impacted by this heart-breaking situation.
The University is actively providing counseling and other support to the student's family, fraternity members and classmates. We ask that you please respect their privacy during this time of personal sorrow.
WSU counselors and Student Affairs staff have met with those most closely affected by this tragic loss. Other students in need of support should contact the Office of the Dean of Students or the Counseling and Psychological Services staff at Cougar Health Services.
In response to this situation, all fraternities and sororities within the WSU Greek community have self-imposed an immediate suspension of all social events for the remainder of the semester. Washington State University will be working with the Pullman Police Department and the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity in the coming days to investigate the circumstances surrounding this death. Today, however, we are focused on supporting the student's family and our University community.
Members of the Cougar community who wish to extend their condolences should contact the Office of the Dean of Students at deanofstudents@wsu.edu."

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