University officials said a man who reportedly committed suicide on campus was not a registered student, but may have been a former one.
At approximately 6:30 p.m. tonight, on the 1900 block of Liacouras Walk, on Main Campus, a man died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, police have said. The incident occurred directly outside Maxi’s Pizza, Subs & Bar and 7-Eleven.
“We heard a bunch of people in the circle in the center [of Liacouras Walk] and all of a sudden we heard a fire cracker [sound],” said Christian Rossnagel, a senior advertising major, who was standing nearby at the time. “It didn’t sound like a gun; it sounded like a really loud fire cracker.”
Rossnagel said the victim appeared to be a white male. Various media reports suggest the man was in his 20s.
“There wasn’t screaming or anything,” said Anna Versage, senior anthropology and Spanish major, who was sitting in 7-Eleven at the time of the shooting. “Nobody was freaking out. It just happened.”
Nathaniel Fox, a senior geography and urban studies major, saw the victim fall to the ground.
“I heard a gunshot and I looked and just saw someone standing [upright],” Fox said. “Then he just crumpled and fell on the ground…he looked like a young guy, younger than me.”
The individual was not a registered Temple student.
“He may have been a Temple student in the past,” said Ray Betzner, assistant vice president of university communications. “We are going through our records now to try to determine what his history here has been.”
The university first issued a TU Alert at around 6:50 p.m., indicating that a shooting had occurred. A second alert was sent out shortly after 7 p.m., notifying the university that the scene was safe from danger.
According to witnesses, the man appeared to be alone at the time of the incident.
“There were a few people closer to him than I was who ran in the opposite direction,” Fox said. “I just jumped on the ground behind a retaining wall and called 911.”
Although Fox did not see a gun, he said the victim appeared to be holding something he could not identify.
Cops arrived on scene in less than 10 seconds, Rossnagel said.
Immediately following the shooting, Liacouras Walk was cleared for investigation.
Passing students gathered outside 1940 residence hall, along Norris Street, and on Polett Walk, as they awaited news and watched police officers scour the scene.
Liacouras Walk has since reopened.
“I’ll never look at that spot the same,” Fox said. “I never would have thought I would see that. In that split second I saw him die.”
Becky Kerner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In light of this incident, the university has reminded students to take advantage of its counseling resources. Tuttleman Counseling Services is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The office accepts walk-in appointments and offers confidential meetings. Counselors can also be reached at 215-204-7276.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be contacted at 1-800-273-TALK.[UPDATE: Click here for a follow-up.]