Caltech death confirmed as suicide

Caltech death confirmed as suicide

By Joe Piasecki 05/21/2009

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The death of a Caltech student whose body was found Sunday afternoon on campus was a result of suicide by helium asphyxiation, Lt. Fred Corral of the LA County Department of Coroner’s Investigations Division confirmed Tuesday.

The student, a 19-year-old Asian male, had been reported missing Friday to Pasadena police, said police spokeswoman Janet Pope Givens. He was later found dead by Caltech security officers on the roof of a campus building.

A note, helium tank and plastic bag were recovered at the scene, sources said. 

The student was a junior studying computer science. His death is the fifth by suicide at Caltech in 20 years, including one in 2007, according to a statement emailed to the Weekly by Caltech Media Relations Director Jon Weiner.

“While the whole campus grieves over his loss, we will be working with student leaders in finding a suitable way to remember the student and his achievements on campus,” wrote Weiner.

The school offers year-round counseling services for its students and faculty and its Web site discusses depression and suicide prevention at length. View that Web page at Caltech students in need of grief assistance should call (626) 395-8331.


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My deepest sympathy to all of the Caltech community, especially Page House and his close friends. I can not imagine what his parents are going through. Please know that you are in my prayers.

posted by peggyg on 5/24/09 @ 05:07 a.m.

He was 20, not 19! He would have been 21 on May 30th.

posted by kmhoffma on 5/26/09 @ 07:17 p.m.

Another correction: Brian was bi-racial: Caucasian and Asian. I know our society and likely journalists need to put these labels on people, but if he must have an ethnic label, this is the complete truth regarding his racial origins. Also, pls refer to the web site for the Association for the Prevention of Suicide regarding media distortions in reporting death by suicide.
I feel we have a responsibility, esp. to young people, in the way we report these tragic deaths. I pray that any reporter will avail themselves of the information on this website. Click on "Media" on the left.
Mr. Piasecki, pls note the mistakes you made in your facts about our son publicly in your newspaper. Perhaps you could follow up with an article about the responsible reporting of suicide after you avail yourself of the information on the website for the Association for the Prevention of Suicide. I pray there are no copycat situations. If I were you, that would haunt me to the end of my days. Do the right thing, Mr. Piasecki.
Brian's grieving mother and father and siblings, who do not want this to happen to any other young person or their friends and family.

posted by MargaretGo on 6/03/09 @ 08:35 a.m.

please take this article down

posted by melaniepribiskoyen on 7/24/09 @ 12:41 p.m.

There are actually 5-6 suicides in Caltech in the past 5 years, 3 graduate students (one last week) and 3 undergraduate (the two reported here and one in 2007). The rate in 2009 is unbelievable, 3 in 3 months.

posted by wiwi_h on 7/27/09 @ 07:43 p.m.

It's so sad the number of suicides around the US lately. In the area surrounding Cal State L.A. and East L.A. College in July 2009 alone, there were also 2 known suicides, both we self inflicted gun
shots, I only knew one of the victims. Is it the economy or the pursuit of happiness ?

posted by shorelinepirate on 7/29/09 @ 03:49 p.m.

Many people believe CalTech is a ‘God-less’ institution.

“God does not exist,” said one freshman, “and I resent you asking me.”

I remember talking to one professor after a lecture on ‘dualism’ and he said, “You can’t believe in Dualism without believing in God, but don’t tell anyone because I don’t want to lose my job.”

I’m getting fed up with these idiot atheists who try to act as the ‘thought-police’ for the campus.

There IS a GOD. Any moron can see it. Prove God exists in 30 seconds? I can prove it in 1 sentence: SOMETHING CANNOT COME OUT OF NOTHING.

You taste a perfect peach with ice-cream. Do you truly think it comes out of NOWHERE?

You cry when you see ‘Jerry Maguire’s’ ending. Do you truly think it comes of NOWHERE?

You see a bug that looks like a leaf to camouflage itself. Do you truly think it comes of NOWHERE?

You walk straight, you breathe fresh air, a million bacterial plasmas don’t make you gasp, you see the blue sky, the green grass, the warm sun (not too hot, not too cold). Do you truly think it comes of NOWHERE?

Before you commit suicide, THINK. If there’s a 1% chance of heaven or hell, don’t take it. The BIBLE says, ‘We are to die once and face judgment.’

Don’t listen to what Jay Leno, David Letterman, Brad Pitt, Tiger Woods, Brittney Spears, Obama, Oprah, or the other media elite have to tell you.

Don’t listen to what your CalTech PHd’s in Astro-Physics have to tell you.

Don’t listen to what even your parents tell you.

But do listen to what JESUS CHRIST has to tell you: “I am the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE. No man comes to the God but by me.”

If you don’t believe in Christ, you better be sure as hell. Because there is a hell. Please THINK.

You know there is a God. THINK.

Don’t be manipulated by the evil 2% who control 90% of the media, TV, movies, academia, Wall Street, etc. There is a GOD. And JESUS CHRIST is the SON OF GOD. He loves you and died for your sins.

If you don’t accept Him before you die, you WILL go to HELL.

God bless your decision.

posted by Concerned7777 on 6/10/10 @ 04:27 p.m.
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