Emerson College Student Who Died in Altercation Investigated as Homicide by Boston Police

Family members of Daniel Hollis say he hit his head on brick or cement during an altercation over the weekend

A homicide investigation is underway following the death of a 19-year-old Emerson College student who died after he hit his head on cement or brick during an altercation in Brighton last weekend.

Family members of Daniel Hollis, a sophomore marketing communications major from Hopedale, said he suffered irreparable damage to his brain in the altercation.

Police said they responded to a call for an assault Sunday at 1:30 a.m. near Packard’s Corner. Hollis was taken to an area hospital where he underwent emergency surgery. His family said in a blog post that due to the extensive damage to his brain, Hollis would not regain consciousness.

Hollis died Wednesday, according to his family.

A vigil to remember Hollis was held Thursday at noon at Emerson's Semel Theater.

"The smile he had just lit up your day, you know? He had that kind of impact on people who knew him," friend Jared Haines said. "I would say the only shame about Dan is that not enough people knew who he was."

At Emerson's Paramount Center, the marquee was also lit to remember Hollis' life.

"The message has to go out there about who he was. The message at the beginning - it was a kid who was at a part who got into a fight and that's not who Dan is," said friend Eric Moxim, who played lacrosse with Hollis at Hopedale High School. "I just want everybody to know how caring he was and how much he really meant to everyone in this community and how much he meant to the men's lacrosse team in general."

While family and friends mourn, police now say what was originally a call for an assault and battery is now being investigated as a homicide.

"The Boston Police Department continues to actively review the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident," read a statement from the department.

Hollis' family was not at Thursday's vigil. They plan on holding services for him sometime next weekend. 

"He loved life and life loved him," Emerson President Lee Pelton said. "He was a young man maturing into the fullness of the person he was meant to be. No doubt, that is why the news of his death at such an early age has left us so breathless, our very spirits weakened and humbled by the news."

Anyone with information on the death is asked to contact the Boston Police Homicide Detectives at 617-343-4470. Anonymous tips can be made by calling CrimeStoppers at 1-800-494-TIPS.

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