The University at Buffalo student who suffered cardiac arrest following a suspected hazing incident has died, Buffalo Police Capt. Jeff Rinaldo said Wednesday.
Sebastian Serafin-Bazan, of Westchester County, had been in critical condition at Buffalo General Medical Center since early Friday morning.
Serafin-Bazan, a freshman at UB, had been ordered to perform exercises inside a house associated with the Sigma Pi fraternity on Custer Street, according to two police sources.
Preliminary toxicology reports showed no drugs or alcohol in his system, the two sources said.
The 18-year-old had recently been treated for a respiratory ailment, possibly the flu, the sources said.
Buffalo police homicide detectives have been investigating and UB officials suspended all official Greek-letter fraternity and sorority activities at least through the fall.
The case remains under investigation as police await the results of an autopsy, Rinaldo said.
"Our hearts go out to Sebastian’s family for the devastating heartbreak they are experiencing," UB President Satish K. Tripathi said in a statement regarding Serafin-Bazan's death. "We extend our sincerest condolences to the Serafin-Bazan family and to all of Sebastian’s friends here at UB and in his hometown of Port Chester, N.Y. We join them in mourning the tragic loss of a member of our UB family.
"If you are struggling, please know that our university counselors are here to provide you support in the aftermath of this terrible loss. As we grieve Sebastian’s passing today and well beyond, it is my hope that each of us pauses to remind ourselves that we can only uphold our humanity by treating each other with dignity, compassion and kindness," he said.
Police sources said Serafin-Bazan was performing exercises from Thursday night into Friday morning when he began to experience physical distress.
A neighbor told The Buffalo News that she was told by one of the fraternity brothers that Serafin-Bazan was carried outside the Custer Street house in order to get some fresh air after he fell and hit the back of his head on a coffee table.
Another neighbor told The News he saw four or five people carry a person from the house and set him down on the front lawn of the home. One of the individuals stayed on the scene while the others fled, the neighbor said.
An ambulance crew was dispatched just after midnight Friday morning to 69 Custer St., according to emergency radio transmissions archived at Broadcastify.com. A caller told the dispatcher a person was on the front lawn in cardiac arrest.
UB officials announced later that day the university was suspending official fraternity and sorority activities. On Monday, the school announced it was suspending activities of Greek-letter organizations at least until the fall semester while an internal review is conducted.
Sigma Pi's national office also issued a statement Wednesday.
"The entire Sigma Pi family is deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Sebastian Serafin-Bazan," Executive Director Jonathan Frost said. "We extend our heartfelt condolences to Sebastian’s family and friends during this extremely difficult time. We remain in communication with the Buffalo Police Department and university officials, and have offered our support for their ongoing investigation. We will be initiating an internal investigation and review once the police have concluded their fact-finding."
UB students who need immediate support services should visit Room 210 in the Student Union on North Campus, the UB Student Association said in a statement.
Help is also available through University Counseling Services: on North Campus in 120 Richmond Quadrangle or by phone at 645-2720; and on South Campus in 202 Michael Hall or by phone at 829-5800, according to the association.
“We ask that all students at the University at Buffalo remain respectful of Sebastian, his family and friends during this most difficult of times,” the organization said. “Across our campuses, we must always find ways to support one another and have each other’s backs. Now more than ever, it is critical for each of us to stand together as the unified Buffalo community we know we are.”