Police said Lafayette public safety officers responded to a medical emergency about 4:22 p.m. Sunday outside Ruef Hall North at the campus in Easton. McCrae Williams, 19, ultimately died at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest. (CHRIS SHIPLEY / THE MORNING CALL)
A Lafayette College freshman lacrosse player who died Monday suffered a “major head injury” in a fall, according to a letter from the headmaster of the Massachusetts boarding school he graduated from in June.
Authorities have only said MacCrae Williams was involved in a “chain of events” that authorities believe began Saturday and ended with his death Monday afternoon at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest.
Williams of Weston, Mass., was pronounced dead at 5:02 p.m. Monday at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, the Lehigh County coroner’s office said.
In a letter to parents of the Noble and Greenough School, where Williams was a star lacrosse goalie and team captain, Head of School Catherine J. Hall attributed the death to a head injury but did not specify how it happened.
Easton police said Lafayette public safety officers found Williams, 19, when they responded to a medical emergency about 4:22 p.m. Sunday outside Ruef Hall North, a dormitory on campus. He was taken to Easton Hospital and transferred to LVH.
Easton police detectives were called to investigate late Monday morning, Lt. Matthew Gerould said Tuesday.
The coroner’s office said an autopsy is scheduled Wednesday to determine the cause and manner of Williams’ death.
Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grim said there were no obvious signs of trauma, no gunshot wounds, no stab wounds or head wounds. Grim also confirmed there were no indications Williams was involved in strenuous physical activity. He said toxicology test results could take a few weeks.
Northampton County First Deputy District Attorney Terence Houck said investigators are hoping the autopsy will provide insight into Williams’ death, and are interviewing his friends and roommates. Williams was already unconscious by the time authorities arrived at the call, Houck said.
Houck said police are making no assumptions about what happened. “We just don’t know yet,” he said Tuesday morning.
“Obviously when you have a death like this, a kid this age, something’s going on, so nothing is out of play here,” Houck said.
Easton police said they believe that a chain of events began in the late afternoon or evening Saturday which led up to the medical call. Police did say they are attempting to determine the cause of the medical call and whether alcohol played a role in Williams’ death.
Gerould declined to comment on whether anyone was with Williams when the medical incident occurred, citing the ongoing investigation.
The college issued a statement Tuesday morning.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to Williams’ family and friends,” Lafayette President Alison Byerly said. “We will share information about memorial plans when it becomes available … Losing a member of the Class of 2021 is a heartbreaking start ot the year for our newest students in particular.”
Byerly said Williams’ parents were with him when he passed away Monday.
Williams played lacrosse at Noble and Greenough School, a boarding school for grades seven through 12 in Dedham, Mass. Earlier this year, he committed to playing lacrosse at Lafayette. The college listed him as a recruit for the sport. He was 5 feet 8 inches tall.
In her letter to the boarding school parents, Hall said Williams was a “beloved member of [the school community],” a three-sport athlete and excellent student who worked as a campus tour guide.
“We gathered our students and faculty this afternoon to share the sad news with them, and to help our students begin to cope with the loss of their friend,” the letter said. “We are offering our campus community as much support and care as possible as we face this tragic loss.
Social media posts indicate he was originally from London.
The Lehigh County coroner’s office reported the death about 10 p.m. Monday.
Ed Williams, Lafayette interim head coach of lacrosse, could not be reached.
Byerly said a gathering will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Quad on campus and that counselors will be available at the gathering. The counseling center is open until 7:15 p.m., but after-hours crisis support is available at 610-330-5005.
Staff reporter Riley Yates contributed to this article.
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