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Daemen student climbed over fourth-floor balcony railing before fatal fall, police say

Thomas J. Krickovich climbed over a 42-inch railing on the fourth-floor outdoor balcony at Pearl Street Grill & Brewery and was hanging by his hands from the railing when he lost his grip and plunged to his death two weeks ago, Buffalo police said.

Although his reasons for climbing over the railing are not known, police said Krickovich might have intended to climb down to the third-floor balcony.

As Krickovich fell on the Seneca Street side of the brick building, it is believed that he struck a vertical sign, “Brawler’s Back Alley Deli,” affixed to the second-floor balcony, causing him to arch away from the exterior metal structures, police said. He fell about 35 feet.

Foul play is not suspected and there are no signs of suicide, police said.

Whether alcohol played a part in the Lancaster resident’s death will be determined once detectives receive toxicology tests, which can take up to four months.

“We still believe that this was a horrible tragedy and we are still continuing to investigate and are awaiting autopsy results,” Capt. Joseph A. Gramaglia of the Homicide Bureau said.

The 24-year-old Daemen College graduate student was attending a class party and had been at the restaurant for about four hours when the tragedy occurred, police said.

The law firm representing Krickovich’s family is also investigating his death but concurs so far with police findings.

“Our investigation has revealed that it was not an intentional act of suicide and we agree that foul play by someone else was not a factor,” said Michael A. Iacono, a lawyer with John J. Fromen Attorneys at Law. “We have not definitively determined that he was going from one level to the other. That’s what we had heard.”

The law firm’s investigation is also focusing on the railing, Iacono said, “and all other aspects as to the structure of the building concerning safety.

“It is a continuing investigation and it is going to take time to accurately and properly determine the cause of the fall.”

Krickovich arrived at Pearl Street at about 6 p.m. Friday, April 15, and the accident occurred just after 10 p.m. He and other students in Daemen’s physician assistant program had organized a party at the restaurant and bar to celebrate the upcoming graduation of students in that program.

Krickovich’s parents stopped by the party but left early. His mother, Susan R. Krickovich, is chair of the education department at Daemen and an associate professor.

“His parents are still in a state of shock,” said Iacono, a longtime friend of the Krickovich family. “This was something no one expected. He really was a nice kid, athletic, extremely outgoing and well liked. There were hundreds of people at the wake and funeral last week, friends, neighbors and members of the community.”

Earl Ketry, owner of Pearl Street, has said he has been advised by his attorney not to comment on the incident until police finish their investigation.