BEIRUT: A 20-year-old engineering student at the American University of Beirut fell to his death at the dorms of his college Wednesday, in what security sources described as a suspected case of suicide.
Marwan Mustafa Hamzeh, a third-year mechanical engineering student, was found outside Penrose men’s dorms having fallen from the sixth floor balcony.
Hamzeh, not a Penrose dorms resident, was staying at Kerr Hall, the neighboring men’s dormitory.
AUB Medical Center confirmed a student had passed away at 8:20 a.m. on Wednesday morning after several attempts to revive him.
AUB spokeswoman Maha Azar also confirmed the death but said the college would not give any details about the incident "out of respect" to the victim’s family.
“His family is deeply distressed [by the news of the] death and so are we and everybody on campus,” she told The Daily Star by telephone.
According to a police report, initial analysis of CCTV footage showed the 20-year-old throwing himself from the sixth floor of the structure.
Security sources said Hamzeh, who hails from the southern Lebanese village of Kfar Roummane, suffered from and was being treated for a psychological disorder.
Views on campus of Hamzeh’s tragic death were mixed.
Former roommate Ali Faraj, described Hamzeh as intellectual and a promising student.
“He’s not very social, but when you get to know the guy he always had a friendly face, and he never had any problems,” Faraj told The Daily Star.
Another friend, Jad Nazar, a freshman, described Hamzeh’s love for classical music. “Hamzeh played the violin, and was in a band,” said Nazar.
Faraj said that Hamzeh would often play classical music in their room.
Other friends described his love of video games and Japanese cartoons, anime.
“He was a genuine guy,” summed Nazar.
A former teammate from the football team, who preferred to remain anonymous, said “he seemed happy these past few days. I know he had issues and felt uncomfortable at times. He was very philosophical, but I would rule out that Marwan committed suicide.”
Other students, however, alluded to previous times in which Hamzeh appeared to be withdrawn.
On Wednesday afternoon, friends and acquaintances of Hamzeh comforted each other in front of Penrose dormitory. Many appeared shaken by the incident.
“I quit smoking eight months ago,” one friend said, wiping away a tear as she lit a cigarette.
In a statement, AUB mourned the loss of the young man and said it was providing support to Hamzeh’s family and friends.
“The AUB community is deeply saddened by the sudden death of third-year engineering student Marwan Hamzeh this morning,” the college said.
“We are mourning the loss of this promising young student and express our sincere condolences to all who knew and admired Marwan,” it added.
The college said it is contact with Hamzeh’s family and students who knew him and providing them with appropriate support.