The Washington Post

Florida A&M band member’s death ruled a homicide

In this Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, photo, Robert Champion, a drum major in Florida A&M University's Marching 100 band, performs during halftime of a football game in Orlando, Fla. (Joseph Brown III/AP)

The 26-year-old died from shock due to internal bleeding from blunt force trauma. He had bruises to his chest, arms and shoulder.

Champion was found unresponsive in a parking lot after the team’s game with Bethune-Cookman on Nov. 19. After vomiting and complaining of shortness of breath, he died at the hospital.

Champion’s death highlighted a serious problem of hazing at the university and band director, Julian White, has been suspended with no more band performances scheduled. There have been other cases of violent hazing rituals at FAMU, but none as severe as this.

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