An 18-year-old Central Connecticut State University student has died after falling from the roof of the building that houses The Angry Bull Saloon on Allyn Street in Hartford.
According to Hartford Police Deputy Chief Brian Foley, police received a 9-1-1 call at 12:30 a.m. saying a woman had fallen off the four-story building and was injured.
When emergency crews arrived, they found the teen in a narrow alley between two buildings. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The victim has been identified as Taylor Lavoie, of East Granby. Her family has been notified.
In a letter to the CCSU community, school officials identified Lavoie as a first-year student who lived on campus and offered counseling services to students.
"Beyond the grief that we feel, tragedies such as this remind us how important it is for us as a community to cherish and support each other," President Zulma Toro wrote.
Investigators initially said they suspected the victim was drinking before the fall, but will wait for the medical examiner to confirm how much, if any, alcohol was in her system.
Officials said Lavoie came with friends, also underage, using CT Fastrak and at some point the group was in the bar before the teen went onto the roof. It is unclear how many others were on the roof with her.
The bar is on the bottom floor of the building but the roof can be accessed from warehouse space above the bar, according to police officials. Foley said it appeared there was a lock on the hatch to the roof that had been broken at some point. He described the roof as “treacherous” and said it did not look like commonly used space.
“By the time you get to the top stairway there’s bird feathers, pigeon feathers. It’s extremely dusty,” Foley said.
Investigators are calling the death "untimely" and have not determined what caused the teen to fall to her death. Hartford Police Major Crimes detectives are investigating.
“All indications at this point are that it is accidental. We don’t having anything to believe otherwise at this point. However, we are keeping all options open,” Foley told NBC Connecticut.
An investigation involving the State Liquor Commission is also underway because the victim was underage.
The liquor commission had officers at the bar earlier in the week to investigate other issues. Police said the owner of the bar has been cooperative and voluntarily offered the business's liquor license for suspension after a meeting with Department of Consumer Protection officials.
Friday night Angry Bull released the following statement on their Facebook page.
"The Angry Bull Saloon is devastated by the loss of life of this young college student. We are a popular downtown establishment located in the entertainment district with other popular venues, serving patrons over the age of 21. We consistently have several members of our security staff outside the entry door of the establishment to ensure all patrons are checked for proper identification stating they are 21 or above. In addition, all areas of the establishment, located on the ground and second floor of the five story building, are consistently patrolled by numerous security staff members to ensure the safety of patrons. The Angry Bull Saloon has never been found in violation, fined, or had any disciplinary action taken against it despite routine and surprise undercover inspections by Liquor Control Agents and members of the Hartford Police Department. The upper two floors and rooftop of the establishment are not part of the permitted premises and are known as empty warehouse space belonging to the building owner. To access the roof, a person must go up a stairwell from the second floor area through a fully blocking curtain, which indicates a blocked/off limits area. The roof access requires someone to go up two floors of abandoned space, continue to a ladder structure, climb it to a hatchway, then enter the roof through a small doorway area. The Angry Bull Saloon voluntarily met with and agreed to suspend its liquor permit out of respect for the family of the deceased in this difficult time. The establishment will use that time to review procedures and the incident with the Hartford Police Department and Department of Consumer Protection. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the deceased."
Editor's note: Police initially said the victim suffered a five-story fall, but the building is actually four stories. This article has been updated to reflect that information.