NCCU Student's Death Remains Mysterious PDF Print E-mail
Written by Geoffrey Cooper -- Black College Wire   
Friday, 18 April 2008

The N.C. Central University campus continues to be puzzled about the April 8 death of history senior Canon Tyrell Fuller.

The State Bureau of Investigation suspects that Fuller’s death may have been an aggravated assault.

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Canon Tyrell Fuller
In an April 10 search warrant, Creedmoor police officials state that household members and staff told them Fuller “was assaulted by two residents within 24 hours of his death.”

Recreational sports management senior Corey Dinkins recalled the day of his friend and roommate’s death.

During a 10:40 a.m. break, Dinkins was enjoying his break from classes, laughing with friends.

But his fun turned to sadness when he got word that Fuller had died early that morning.

The 21-year-old from Lincolnton collapsed the evening of April 7 while working at Will’s Place, a level-three licensed group home for mentally ill or emotionally disturbed children and adolescents, located in Creedmoor.

Dinkins said he and Fuller were good friends from freshman year until Fuller’s death. He said they meshed well mainly because both their fathers are pastors and their families are involved in church.

“It really came as a shock to me,” said Dinkins.

“I didn’t want to believe it. When I heard it was true, I just had to get away from everyone and everything.”

Granville County Emergency Medical Services Director Martin Bragg said an EMS report recorded a 9-1-1 call to 313 Park Ave., the address of the group home, at 10:53 p.m.

After Fuller collapsed, he was taken to UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill, where he never gained consciousness. Fuller died Tuesday, April 8.

Durham County Health Department and NCCU Student Health Services initially suspected that Fuller may have died from meningitis, an inflammation of thin tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, called the meninges. 

An April 9 e-mail from Chancellor Nelms suggested that individuals who had sexual contact or shared drinks or cigarettes with Fuller seek antibiotic treatment.

Kendrick Vann, supervisor of Will’s Place and an NCCU alumnus, declined to speak to the Campus Echo after numerous attempts to ask about the night Fuller fell unconscious.

Fuller’s autopsy report has not been released.

Carol Schriber, a spokeswoman for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, said that although the results of Fuller’s autopsy were inconclusive, examiners are not ruling out the possibility of meningitis yet.

Currently, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner along with the Center of Disease Control are conducting more tests.

Fuller was scheduled to graduate May 3 with a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in psychology.

He was a resident assistant in the 400 and 500 buildings of Campus Crossings.

Darrin Scott, resident director of Campus Crossings, said he heard of Fuller’s death around 11 a.m. Tuesday.

He said Fuller’s death came as a shock, as he had just spoken with him that Saturday.

Scott said he had a big brother relationship with Fuller. He remembers Fuller as someone who enjoyed life.

“He always had a comedic approach to everything,” Scott said. “Along with him being very sociable and humorous, he was most responsive to anything asked of him.”

Fuller’s death also hit home for history chair Carlton Wilson, one of Fuller’s professors.

“It’s a sinking feeling,” said Wilson, “when a parent sends their child off to college and has to get a call like that.”

Wilson, along with other friends and family of Fuller, attended funeral services at Zion Hill Baptist Church in Cherryville on Sunday.

Wilson said Fuller’s degree will be awarded posthumously at commencement.

Dinkins said Fuller’s death is an emotional time for everyone who knew him.

“We just have to be strong during these times and lean on each other for support,” said Dinkins.

 

Geoffrey Cooper writes for the Campus Echo, the NCCU student newspaper, which originally published this article.

 

 
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