Friends recall aftermath of teen's fatal plunge from balcony

Indianapolis

Friends of a teen who fell five stories to his death from a balcony are recounting what happened.

Xavier Somerville died Monday after police broke up a party where many of those in attendance were drinking. Somerville was a Lawrence Central High School graduate who enrolled at Purdue University. Friends planned a vigil for Monday night.

Officers were responding to a complaint about loud music at The Avenue apartments near West 10th Street and University Boulevard near IUPUI around 3 a.m. Monday.

According to a police report, a frantic person greeted officers, saying Somerville had just fallen from the balcony.

“When I saw him on the floor, I immediately ran down the stairs and went after him,” said Sahar Habibi, a friend of Somerville’s who was at the party.

“I saw him on the floor. I saw blood…his face was down…I saw blood on his face. I was just trying to be like, ‘Xavier, Xavier.’ I just kept breaking down more and more.”

Officers found Somerville unconscious on the sidewalk.

Witnesses told police the 18 year old got scared when he heard officers were at the door and tried to swing from the fifth floor balcony to the fourth floor balcony to get away. He lost his grip and fell.

Somerville was transported to Wishard Hospital at IU Health, but later died from his injuries.

Those inside the apartment told police they were having a party and had been drinking. According to a police report, officers found “several open bottles of various kinds of alcohol sitting around the apartment.”

Six people were cited for alcohol-related violations, including a 22-year-old man ticketed for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Five other people under the age of 21 were cited for possession of alcohol by a minor.

Corporal Travis Thickstun of Indiana State Excise Police said the accident shows just how dangerous underage drinking can be.

“We do want that message to go out as well those people who purchase alcohol for minors or provide them a place will be held accountable as well,” Thickstun told Fox59.

Excise police started an initiative last semester to crack down on underage drinking at several colleges across the state, including Indiana University, Purdue University and Ball State University. The program, called Intensified College Enforcement (ICE) does not include IUPUI.

Thickstun also said underage drinking parties are all too common, with many of them held away from campus.

“Most of them are not usually on university property in these communities,” Thickstun said.

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