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Vigil held for Utah Tech University student killed in balcony fall


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ST. GEORGE — It was an emotional night at Utah Tech University Tuesday as students, teachers and staff gathered for a vigil to remember a freshman who died in what is being called a tragic accident.

Peyton Hall, 18, fell from the fifth-story balcony at a campus student housing apartment complex early Sunday morning.

Hall was known as someone who lived life to the fullest.

"This student was very loved and very beloved by those who lived with him and those who were surrounded by him," said Aaron Cass, with the UTU student association that helped organize the vigil. "All of this is very devastating, and I feel students need a moment to come together to heal, especially in this hard, traumatic time."

"It's heartbreaking to think how fragile life is," said Skyy Schuffenhauer, a student at the vigil who also helped put it together. "I think it's important to create a safe space for students to come together to share memories."

According to police, it was at approximately 2:30 a.m. on Sunday when Hall fell to his death. Five other students were inside the apartment, and one student was on the balcony, sitting in a chair and talking on the phone when it happened.

Investigators said those students all watched it happen. Plus, there were dozens of students around in other apartments and on balconies that saw the aftermath.

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UTU's Police Chief Ron Bridge said the investigation is still ongoing, but said there are no signs of foul play or horsing around that was taking place when he fell.

"It appears to be a human error situation. It is a terrible, tragic accident — that's what we're treating it as. Nothing suspicious at all," he said to KSL-TV. "There were other people inside the apartment that night. No citations have been issued for alcohol. We will wait for a toxicology report until we can make any type of comment about (whether Hall had been drinking)."

The university immediately called in crisis teams to provide resources to those students who needed support and counseling.

"We really wanted our students to realize that we are here for them, that we understand that this is such a sad thing, and that we wanted to make sure they have the appropriate resources they need," said Ali Threet, the dean of dtudents, who spoke at the vigil.

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