Emerson student dies in fall from building

Said to have been working on project

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By Sean Teehan
Globe Correspondent / April 18, 2011

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A popular Emerson College film student fell to his death yesterday from the roof of a Roxbury apartment building, where he was working on a school project, the president of the college said in a statement.

Justin Amorratanasuchad, 21, a junior film production major from Seattle, died from injuries after falling from a four-story building on Columbus Avenue, the college president, Jacqueline Liebergott, wrote in an e-mail sent to Emerson students and faculty and forwarded to the Globe.

“We wish to express our deepest sympathies to all who knew and loved Justin,’’ Liebergott wrote. “A service to remember and celebrate Justin’s life will be organized at an appropriate time, about which more details will be forthcoming.’’

Liebergott also wrote that Amorratanasuchad was working on a film project at the time of the accident, but she did not provide any further information.

When police responded to a call about 10:45 a.m. to the corner of Columbus Avenue and Northampton Street, they found Amorratanasuchad in the rear of the building at 610 Columbus Ave., which is adjacent to Darryl’s Corner Bar and Kitchen.

He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a statement from Boston Police Department officials, who said the death appeared to have been accidental.

A crowd of about 10 people formed across Northampton Street from where police investigated late yesterday morning.

Three visibly upset young men and a young woman spoke with investigators near the building from which Amorratanasuchad apparently fell.

Records indicate the building is owned by CSOH Properties LLC of Boston and MASS LLC. The owners could not be reached for comment.

Access to the roof is supposed to be restricted by a locked door, said Kevin Spates, 23, who said he has lived in the building for about two years.

Spates said he recently noticed that the lock to the rooftop door had been taped over so that the door was always open.

“I’ve been up there a couple of times. It’s pretty simple to get up there,’’ he said.

The side from which Amorratanasuchad fell has no railings, he added.

Talented and popular, Amorratanasuchad worked as a student employee at the college’s editing lab, said Anna McCarthy, 21, a junior film production major who knew him from class.

“He’s an absolutely amazing kid; it’s tragic,’’ McCarthy said.

“I was really excited to see what he would do after Emerson. . . . I know the entire community is heartbroken.’’

A May 2008 Internet posting about the video production program at Ballard High School in Seattle indicated that Amorratanasuchad was among several students recognized by the National Student Television Awards program.

The same posting listed him among the winners in the international Westport Youth Film Festival in Connecticut.

Several students at Emerson posted Facebook statuses reading “rest in peace’’ and similar messages as a tribute to Amorratanasuchad yesterday.

Emerson’s Counseling Center will host a gathering at the Campus Center today for people who wish to talk about Amorratanasuchad’s death, Liebergott’s e-mail said.

Globe correspondent Alexander C. Kaufman contributed to this report. Sean Teehan can be reached at

Correction: Because of a reporting error, the wrong Boston neighborhood was cited in an earlier version of this story about an Emerson College student who fell to his death from a building. Justin Amorratanasuchad died in Roxbury.