A 21-year old senior at Sacramento State University went into cardiac arrest and later died after being shot in the chest with a pellet gun during a party at his fraternity house.
Will Molina was a business major at the university and a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, which was hosting the ill-fated party Thursday night into early Friday morning, according to Fox 40. Police were called to the scene at the off-campus house, located about two miles from the university, at about 3 a.m.
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Dispatch audio from first responders was released on Friday, and revealed that authorities were first called upon for a person who had passed out, but quickly realized they were responding to a shooting.
“We’re coming in code 3 … with a 21-year-old male,” an emergency medical worker is heard saying. “He was shot in the chest with a pellet gun, went unresponsive, and is now in cardiac arrest.” An officer then explains that a “friend on scene shot [Molina] with a B.B. gun accidentally … and they’ve started CPR on scene.”
Molina was transported to the hospital, where he later died, said the Sacramento Police Department. They also confirmed that everyone at the party is cooperating with the investigation into Molina’s death, and no one has been arrested, though the person who fired the pellet could potentially face a criminal charge, according to CBS Sacramento.
The Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house has reportedly developed something of a reputation for its wild parties, which at least one neighbor has complained about before. Linda Fea reported the students to Sacramento police in 2017, and told CBS Sacramento that the pellet gun party “was getting out of control.”
Fea said she’s been primarily concerned about safety “because we’d also seen at the parties the kids were [on] the roof, and jumping into the pool.” But in the past, police told Fea that the students’ partying was something they could not deal with directly.
“It’s a private residence so our advice was you’re going to have to deal with it through the channels that are available to you,” Sacramento State spokesperson Brian Blomster reportedly told the neighbor at the time.
On Sunday, a vigil was held in Sacramento for Molina, where friends and family in attendance described the student as “an awesome, positive guy” who “always had a smile from ear to ear and he was a great person to be around.” Another loved one called Molina “a great asset to the community.”
Molina’s mother, Jackie Euer, told Fox affiliate KTVU that her son’s death is “just unimaginable” and does not seem to blame the students at the fraternity party for the tragedy.
“My son has countless wonderful memories with [the student who fired the pellet gun],” she said. “These are good kids and he was wonderful.”
Sacramento State University president Robert S. Nelson addressed Molina’s death on Friday in a Facebook post, in which he said he was “devastated” and “heartbroken over the loss of this young man. He also offered grief counseling to anyone who felt they needed extra help coping with the loss.
Deaths caused by pellet guns — classified as “air weapons,” which are typically used for recreation — are rare but do happen. In 2013, a teen fired his pellet gun at a stranger who approached his driveway, and the man later died from a chest injury. Jose Luis Romo was charged with reckless homicide, according to The Indianapolis Star, for the death of Jesus Martinez-Lopez, whom he claimed he didn’t intend to hurt. Romo was later found not guilty.
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