Local News

Investigators, Family, Friends Wonder About State Student's Death

Posted April 15, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Investigators are still trying to figure out why an NC State freshman who could not swim was in the cold waters of Lake Johnson Sunday night. Steven Velazquez drowned just hours after being initiated into a fraternity.

In his hometown of Goldsboro, the flag at Eastern Wayne High School flew at half-staff Tuesday. It had not been such a long time since Velazquez graduated from the school. His friend Tiffany Call said Velazquez had many plans for his future.

Velazquez nurtured his love for the armed forces in the school's Junior ROTC program. Instructors say he was an exceptional leader with a bright future. Shawn McGrady was also a friend. He said Velazquez was always winning awards.

His friends say it wasn't like Velazquez to jump into a situation he couldn't handle. Police have ruled out foul play by fraternity brothers, but the fact that he was in the water at all is something those who know him consider odd.

They say Velazquez was very open about the fact that he did not know how to swim. Call said he told a few friends at the high school that he had considered taking swimming classes at NC State, but he had not yet done so.

Investigators say they hope their investigation will eventually answer the question of how Velazquez got into the lake. Raleigh police say they expect to have autopsy results later this week.