Alcohol, fall from height likely contributed to Berkeley fraternity death

A young man was found dead Saturday at Pi Kappa Phi. Image: Ted Friedman
A young man was found dead Saturday at Pi Kappa Phi. Image: Ted Friedman

The Berkeley Police Department has released the identity of the young man who was found dead at the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house on Channing Way on Dec. 19. They also revealed that he likely fell from a “significant” height before his death, and that alcohol appears to have been a contributing factor.

The deceased was Jeffrey Thomas Engler, 22, from San Leandro. Engler, who was enrolled at Laney College, and had formerly attended UC Berkeley, was a member of Pi Kappa Phi, but did not live at the fraternity, according to a statement released by BPD at around 4:15 p.m. Monday. Engler was at the house attending a small holiday party, they said.

The release continues: “Based on the preliminary investigation it appears he fell from a significant height prior to his death. There are no indications of foul play, and alcohol appears to have played a factor in his death. The cause of death will be determined by the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau.” The police investigation is ongoing.

A young man was found dead Saturday at Pi Kappa Phi. Image: Google Maps
A young man was found dead Saturday at Pi Kappa Phi. Image: Google Maps

Police responded to the Berkeley fraternity, which is at 2908 Channing Way, between Prospect and Warring streets, Saturday morning just before 7:30 a.m., after receiving a report of a young man found unresponsive there.


An attempt to resuscitate the man using CPR was unsuccessful, according to a police scanner recording. Officers remained on the scene for much of the day taking statements and trying to piece together what had taken place.

The fire department had been called to the fraternity early Saturday morning, at about 12:30 a.m., for a report of a commercial fire alarm on the second floor.

In the wake of two deaths at UC Berkeley fraternities in 2014, Berkeley began taking steps to improve the safety and oversight of group housing such as fraternities. The CalGreeks community’s Interfraternity Council also put additional measures in place to curb the impacts of drinking, such as banning alcohol stronger than 20% in common areas and imposing escalating fees for violations.

According to the city, “95% of all injuries and deaths at Fraternities nationwide are alcohol- or drug-related.”

Related:
Young man found dead at Berkeley fraternity (12.19.15)
Alcohol at Cal: Authorities report record arrests, tickets (09.10.15)
Berkeley neighbors take on ‘noisy and drunken parties’ (05.05.15)
UC Berkeley student ID’d as Southside fatality, died from head trauma (12.22.14)
20-year-old man found dead in Southside Berkeley (12.20.14)
Man, 20, found dead after party at Berkeley frat house (11.09.14)
Op-ed: Cal should take down beer and athletics billboard (11.03.14)
Student drinking at Cal taxes Berkeley paramedics (11.12.13)

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