A former football standout at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke drowned Sunday night after jumping into a lake on the University of Richmond campus with several classmates, officials said yesterday.
Donnie Lindsey Jr., 19, leaped into Westhampton Lake after an investiture ceremony for first-year male students at which they promise to uphold the university's honor code and take responsibility for their actions.
School officials said the lake plunge is a common, though not required, part of student celebrations on the suburban Richmond campus. About 425 first-year students attended Sunday, and at least a dozen jumped into the lake, officials said.
Members of the university's athletic staff said the incident was unrelated to the football team and was not a form of hazing.
Family members yesterday described Lindsey as a strong swimmer and expressed puzzlement over what might have happened. Campus police investigating the death said initial reports do not indicate that substance abuse was involved.
The students jumped into eight to 10 feet of water Sunday from a walkway eight feet above the lake, officials said. When Lindsey did not surface, friends and classmates jumped in to search for him, university spokeswoman Kim Bolger said.
Lindsey's body was pulled from the water within five minutes, according to campus police Sgt. Khris Molchan, but he lacked a pulse, so CPR was initiated.
A faint pulse was detected before an ambulance arrived to take him to St. Mary's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, officials said.
In light of the drowning, Bolger said the school will consider whether to designate the lake, the centerpiece of the university's campus above the James River, off-limits to swimmers.
Lindsey, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound defensive end and linebacker, was a prize recruit at Richmond, athletic department officials said. In July, he played for Virginia against Maryland in the Super 44 high school all-star game.
Former coaches described him as very popular; a "top-drawer-type kid," said one.
"We're just extremely shocked," said Lindsey's aunt, Rhonda Atkins, of Leesburg. "He was an extraordinary young man . . . a great student and a great athlete."