Campus Life, Housing, News

Student’s death under investigation by Miami-Dade Police

A large area by Stanford Rosborough Tower and the Hecht-Stanford Dining Hall is roped off at the scene of a student’s fatal fall from a staircase. Several police vehicles were present late Thursday night. Isabella Cueto // News Editor.

UPDATE. Dec. 16, 2016, 5:11 p.m.: Miami-Dade Police identified the student as 22-year-old Tahir Alikhan Kurji, an industrial engineering and economics major from Tampa, Fla.

Kurji was a brother of Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, according to his Facebook page. Kurji launched his own “student-run, start-up venture,” Canes Student Services, in 2014 to “sell ease-of-mind” to UM students, according to his Linkedin profile. The service provided students with laundry service, gift and care package delivery and marketing services to “make the college experience easier and more enjoyable for students.” He also worked as an administrative assistant at the university’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

UM Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Whitely issued a statement Friday afternoon about the student’s death, calling Kurji a “bright and hardworking junior.”

“His former supervisor at Sylvester Cancer Center noted his terrific work ethic and that he was a wonderful person to be around.”

On his LinkedIn summary, Kurji wrote, “Ultimately, my passion is to meld technology and business in order to make innovative advancements more accessible to consumers in the same way Elon Musk is doing. I hope to one day be a business leader in the technology industry and I look forward to opportunities to show what I am capable of in the future.”

City of Coral Gables Police and Coral Gables Fire Rescue responded to the scene at Stanford Residential Hall at 1231 Theo Dickinson Drive at 10:23 p.m. Thursday, where they found Kurji unresponsive on the ground next to the building. Kurji was transported to Doctor’s Baptist Hospital, where he later died, according to Miami-Dade Police.

Miami-Dade Police Department is investigating whether the death was an accident, and has labeled the case as “unclassified” at this time. Upon questioning whether there was any foul play, the police redirected The Miami Hurricane back to the official statement. Detective Robin Pinkard said the victim’s body is at the Medical Examiner Office. The Medical Examiner Office notified the victim’s family, but would not comment on the investigation.

According to a report published late Thursday night by The Tab UMiami, a student fell from one of the Stanford Residential College towers at some point in the evening. This incident occurred a day after the end of the fall semester, and most on-campus residents had already left for the break. The Tab’s report suggests that the student fell from Rosborough Tower. Witnesses reportedly saw a student fall from one of the external stairwells.

Students who spoke with The Miami Hurricane said they had seen a body on the ground, and some said their RAs had spoken to them about the incident. Paramedics and  police officers roped off the area and removed the body. Local medical examiners were also on the scene.

An officer on the scene indicated the Miami Dade Police Department would take the lead on the case. The cause of the fall is still being investigated.

For students in need of grief counseling or other assistance, counselors and chaplains are available to students. The Counseling Center can be reached at 305-284-5511 and the contact information for the University Chaplains can be found here. Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Whitely also recommends that students feel free to reach her office at 305-284-4922.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available. 

Correction, 4:58 p.m.: Miami-Dade Police Department’s Public Information Office said the death was a suicide around 3 p.m. Friday, but later said the case was “unclassified” in an email. The Medical Examiner will confirm the cause of death after the investigation is completed.

December 16, 2016

Reporters

Isabella Cueto

Isabella Cueto can be reached via email at editor@themiamihurricane.com and through Twitter at @isabellacueto

Jackie Yang

Jackie Yang can be reached via email at jyang@themiamihurricane.com.


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.