Tyler Hilliard was a 20-year-old student at the University of California-Riverside. According to reports, the junior engineering major died in what some believe may have been a fraternity hazing incident. Hilliard recently pledged at the fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha, according to a report from KABC.
Police are currently waiting for an autopsy.
From the report:
Late last week he was admitted to the hospital for having difficulty breathing, but was treated and released. His family says he had no underlying medical problems. This past Saturday night, the family says the fraternity ordered him and the other pledges up to Mount Rubidoux for what they called a day run; even though it was 9:15 at night.
Hilliard’s family also says that he was subject to hazing activities like eating an entire onion covered in hot sauce, getting paddled by a piece of cactus, and drinking large amounts of water, according to ABC News.
Alpha Phi Alpha has a strict no hazing policy.
“The UC Riverside community grieves the loss of our student Tyler Hilliard. We’ve shared our condolences and offer of support with Tyler’s family and have made counseling services available to students, faculty, or staff who knew him. UCR Student Affairs and UCPD are collaborating with the Riverside Police Department to determine the circumstances regarding Tyler’s passing,” a statement from the university read.
UC Riverside has since placed its chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha on suspension. The fraternity has not responded to requests for a comment, per the Los Angeles Times.
“The Fraternity shares our deepest condolences to his family, loved ones, and the entire university community, as their loss is unimaginable,” organization Executive Director Jamie R. Riley said.
Our deepest condolences go out to Hilliard’s family during this tragic and difficult time.