Volume 74, Number 19 | September 08 - 14 , 2004

Police Blotter

Villager photo by Bob Arihood

Eye in the sky

Police used a Fuji blimp and its Fujicam to keep an eye on events on the ground during the Republican National Convention.

N.Y.U. student deaths
New York University was shaken again by the deaths of two students in the past week, both of them students of the Tisch School of the Arts. A woman graduate student jumped to her death from the roof of the Tisch Building, 721 Broadway, on Sunday morning Sept. 5 and on Wed. Sept. 1, a Tisch sophomore, 19, died after being taken to NYU Downtown Hospital after complaining of stomach pains at his N.Y.U. residence at 80 Lafayette St. The man’s death is an as yet unexplained.

Joanne Michelle Leavy, 23, a second-year film and television graduate student at Tisch, fled, apparently distraught, from her home at 11 Waverly Pl., where she lived with her family, at about 10:20 a.m., ran to the Tisch school’s main building a block away and fell from the roof onto Mercer St. about 10 minutes later, according to police.

A witness said Leavy, who looked as if she had just put her clothes on, was crying and repeated, “Don’t tell my father, don’t tell my father,” as she ran from Waverly Pl., according to several newspaper reports. Her father, summoned by police, arrived at the scene weeping some minutes later and tearfully identified the body. A Daily News article said he told police he had just had a quarrel with his daughter.

She was the sixth N.Y.U. student to fall to her death in the past 12 months. A student, 19, died when she jumped from her boyfriend’s University Pl. apartment after a quarrel in March. A graduate student died in a fall from a Midtown building in June. A sophomore jumped six stories to her death from an apartment near Washington Sq. on Oct. 18, 2003, and on Oct. 10, 2003, a freshman jumped to his death from the 10th-floor balcony into the atrium of the Bobst Library. On Sept. 12, 2003, a student, 19, from Evanston, Ill., jumped to his death from the same Bobst Library balcony.

The other death last week was Spenser Kimbrough, 19, of Staten Island, a sophomore acting student at Tisch, who told a fellow student that he had stomach cramps at 12:20 a.m. on Wednesday. An ambulance dispatched by a 911 operator took him to NYU Downtown Hospital where he died at 3 a.m., police said.

Kimbrough’s mother said at a news conference five days later that doctors had told her that Spencer admitted to them that he had smoked marijuana and had been drinking before the stomach cramps attack, according to a New York Post article. She said her son was known for being anti-drug and she called for a full investigation of the death.

The Kimbrough family also contended that Spencer’s dorm room had not been sealed after his death to ensure a proper investigation, as N.Y.U. officials had told them it would be. The city Medical Examiner’s office said on Tues. Sept 7 that the cause of death had not yet been determined.

John Beckman, N.Y.U. spokesperson, said in regard to the Kimbrough case, “Any suggestion that the university has been less than forthcoming is wrong and unfair.” He added that the deaths of Kimbrough and Leavy were completely unrelated despite both victims being Tisch School students.

“There is an understandable desire to deduce a single cause or conclude that there is a single phenomenon,” Beckman said. “But each of these deaths has its own history and motivation, its own circumstances.”

7th Precinct fracas
An off-duty Department of Sanitation employee who went to the Seventh Precinct stationhouse on Monday afternoon Sept. 6 went into a rage, began swinging a traffic cone and attacked and slightly injured an officer who tried to stop him, police said. The D.O.S. employee, Dale Jackson, 38, was charged with assault, menacing and disorderly conduct. Police said they did not know why the suspect turned up at the stationhouse at about 4 p.m. on Labor Day.

Investigate Hester St. DOA
Police responding to a 4:53 p.m. Sat. Sept. 4 report of a man unconscious on the roof of 140 Hester St., found the victim, identified only as an Asian man, 30, dead at the scene. There was no arrest and the Medical Examiner’s office is investigating the cause of death.

Albert Ameteau

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