A 43-year-old Fullerton man fell to his death in an apparent suicide on the Cal State Fullerton campus late Friday afternoon, authorities said. Michael Scott Zyram, who was not a student at the university, fell from the top level of the Nutwood parking structure.
“The police had reports of a man on the roof screaming and walking on the top floor,” said CSUF spokesperson Paula Selleck in a phone interview. “By the time the police arrived, the body was on the ground.”
Manuel Arredondo, a 32-year-old entertainment arts major, witnessed as paramedics attempted to revive Zyram with CPR to no avail.
“They were trying really hard to bring back his life but it was obvious,” Arredondo said. “It was a cold presence.”
A battery of fire trucks, ambulances, police cars and other university vehicles surrounded the entrance to the parking structure, which was quartered off in yellow tape. At approximately 4:25 p.m., the deceased man lie on the ground unattended. Paramedics covered the body with a large white medical sheet shortly thereafter, as the man’s limp left arm jut out from under the cover.
As the sun set, trails of CSUF administrators, detectives and police officials made their way in and out of the taped up area to discuss details of the incident, occasionally pointing to the top where the wayward jumper descended from. Shortly after 6:00 p.m., an Orange County coroner arrived and conducted a detailed investigation of the body. A half-hour later, the body was loaded into the back of a large white van and taken to the Orange County Sheriff Coroner’s office, where an autopsy was performed. Upon notification of next of kin, Coroner official Kelly Crawford said Zyram’s death was ruled a suicide with the cause of death declared as blunt force trauma.
CSUF students were visibly distraught as they passed by the grisly scene and learned it was a suicide.
Daniel Vidiro, a 23-year-year-old history major, said, “I just can’t believe it. I’ve never been this close to … it’s quite a shock.”
An unidentified student in the structure looked mesmerized as she stared at the sheet covering Zyram. She said, “I just kinda wanna go home,” before abruptly walking away.
“This is the first time I saw a dead body – it’s a shame this had to happen,” said Michael Samiley, a 19-year-old computer science major. “He must have had it pretty bad.”
Ru Chen, an 18-year-old business management major, stood in silence as he surveyed the surroundings while leaving class.
“It’s sad,” Chen said. “I don’t think jumping off a building is the answer to things.”
Spanish major Nayeli Madero, 23, said that in light of the incident, precautions should be taken to ensure the top of the parking structure is enclosed.
Operations Lt. Tom Gehrls said that discussions about the structure will likely take place.
Selleck said that with the size of the campus and community it encompasses, tragedies are inevitable.
“Statistically, these things will happen from time to time,” Selleck said. “It’s very unfortunate.”
History of CSUF Suicides
1977- Richard Drapkin age 31
CSUF Equipment technician for Instructional Media Center jumped from the 5th floor of the Humanities building on April 1.
1979- Susan F. McNelly age 24
CSUF Children’s center intern and former child development student jumped from the 8th floor of the Humanities building on April 20 in her second attempted suicide.
1987- Gregory Hannah age 40
CSUF faculty member was found dead on March 16 after apparently killing himself two nights before from a drug overdose.
1987- Steven Bradley English age 27
CSUF senior geology student went missing on Sept. 17, 1987 and was found in El Cerrito four days later dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
1998- Danming “Peter” Huang age 29
CSUF foreign exchange physics graduate student was found dead alongside the 57 Freeway two weeks after he went missing. He was found on Sept. 16, 1998 and his death was determined a suicide by overdose of prescription medication.