Rebecca Kim, 18, mourned after death from 8-story fall

Rebecca Kim, a “sweet, kind and caring” freshman who studied pre-pharmacy, died after falling from an Art Institute of Philadelphia dorm facility onto a pedestrian.

Rebecca Kim. Via Facebook

Rebecca Kim, an 18-year-old freshman Temple student who studied pre-pharmacy has died after an eight-story fall from a window in Center City around 6 p.m. last night.

Rebecca Kim. Via Facebook
Rebecca Kim. Via Facebook

Kim, whose identity was confirmed in a memorandum from President Theobald, was visiting friends at their Art Institute of Philadelphia residence hall at 1530 Chestnut St. Police said she could have been leaning out of a window to take a picture when she slipped and fell onto a 44-year-old female pedestrian.

No foul play is suspected at this time.

“It appears maybe she lost her footing,” said Christine O’Brien, a police spokeswoman.

The student was transported to Jefferson University Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 6:37 p.m. The pedestrian, who is not being named, is in stable condition at Hahnemann University Hospital.

Kim graduated from Wissahickon High School last year, and was well-liked by her peers, said Principal Lyn Fields. Kim was also extremely involved in extracurricular activities – she ran indoor track & field, was a member of National Honor Society, participated in science competitions and took honors and AP courses.

Fields described her as “sweet, caring and kind.”

“We’re struggling,” Fields said. “This is a kid that could have done anything.”

Fields said the school had a moment of silence for Kim today and all seven of the schools’ counselors are available for the student body. A handful of students have already taken advantage of the services, Fields said.

Fields also said alumni who knew Kim are reaching out to the school.

“Everybody’s in shock,” she said.

President Theobald issued a statement to the student body around 10 a.m. this morning via email offering condolences and reminded students that counseling is available at Tuttleman Counseling Services.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends,” he wrote.

Police left the scene around 8:30 p.m. last night where business continued normally. Will Owens, a 23-year-old security guard at the H&M outside of which the incident occurred, said he didn’t see anything from the store but heard the murmurs from shoppers coming inside.

“A lot of people were shocked,” Owens said. “A lot of people couldn’t believe what happened.”

Other business managers that witnessed the scene declined to comment.

“Temple University is deeply saddened to learn of the death of one of our students in Center City Philadelphia,” wrote Brandon Lausch, Temple spokesman, via email.

The Art Institute of Philadelphia did not return immediate requests for comment.

*Editor’s note: Earlier police reports indicated that the student who died was 20 years old. Police could not confirm the identity but confirmed the student was 18 years old at 11 a.m. today.

Patricia Madej can be reached at or on Twitter @PatriciaMadej.

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