ORLANDO — (AP) A Florida A&M University drum major was severely beaten in a hazing incident and died within an hour, the state medical examiner said Friday in declaring it a homicide.
Robert Champion, 26, had bruises to his chest, arms, shoulder and back and internal bleeding that caused him to go into shock, which killed him, the office said.
State and local authorities are investigating Champion’s Nov. 19 death.
Any death involving hazing is a third-degree felony in Florida but so far no charges have been filed.
Witnesses told 911 that Champion was vomiting before he was found unresponsive on a band bus outside an Orlando hotel after the school’s football team lost to rival Bethune-Cookman.
The report by Dr. Sara Irrgang described Champion as “previously healthy” showing “no evidence of natural disease” except for a slightly enlarged heart.
Immediately after the hazing, Champion complained of thirst and fatigue, then loss of vision and signs of shock, the report said.
The toxicology report was negative for drugs and alcohol and there was no injury to the internal organs.
Champion’s father, Robert Champion Sr., said he knew his son had been hazed.
“We just need to figure out what we need to do now to get the hazing under control,” Champion told The Associated Press from his home in suburban Atlanta.
The family’s attorney, Christopher Chestnut, said the autopsy confirmed the family’s worst fears.
“Justice needs to be swift and immediate,” he said. “We’re not calling for dismantling of the band. There needs to be high-level scrutiny.
“The students are adults but they’re young adults.”
Photo: Robert Champion