Multiple Deaths Rock UMBC’s Campus

BALTIMORE, Md. (WJZ)– Police are investigating the death of a young UMBC student found unresponsive in his dorm.

The 17-year-old is the second student to die in a week, raising concern.

This is a relatively small, tight-knit campus and it is highly unusual to have such tragedy strike. There’s no indication the deaths are related, but they have emotionally impacted students.

The death of Eric Askins in a dorm has shaken students at UMBC. Askins was young-17-years-old and a swimmer in high school.

A statement from UMBC says Askins “was found unresponsive in a residence hall room and pronounced deceased by Baltimore County Police. There are no obvious signs of foul play.”

Police are still investigating how he died. Margot Davila lives in the dorm next door to where Askins lived.

“When there was a death in the family, I would always shut down and wouldn’t want to deal with it, and I feel like that’s what’s happening. These students are so young and it’s so unusual for young people to be dying so often,” said Davila.

WJZ did make contact with Askins’ family. They live in southern Maryland and declined to comment on his death.

Close friends have posted memorials on social media,one writing, “Still can’t believe it. Rest easy Eric. You will stay forever in out hearts and memories. Please send love and prayers to the Askins family.”

“On this campus, it’s unusual because it’s such a small campus,” said student John Deros.

This is the second death of a UMBC student in a week. 22-year-old Jackson Bleier, a former member of the swim team, was murdered in Baltimore City in what police describe as a drug deal gone wrong.

“That doesn’t happen often, and for it to happen twice in such a short time is just concerning for most people,” said student Brandon Lee.

“And it happened so quickly one after the other, it’s a little bit of a shock,” said student Ryan Gordon.

Counselors have been on hand after both deaths to help students deal with their grief as a rattled campus tries to cope.

No arrests have been made in Bleier’s murder. In Askins’ death, police are waiting on the medical examiner to determine the cause.

And while the medical examiner has yet to release the findings, police again say they do not believe foul play was involved in the death of Eric Askins.

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