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Suspected Meningitis Death Still Being Probed

Creedmoor police say they believe there could be more to the death of a North Carolina Central University student than they originally thought.

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CREEDMOOR, N.C. — Police say they are now investigating the death of a North Carolina Central University student who collapsed at a Creedmoor group home Monday night.

Creedmoor Police Chief Tim Benware said Friday that witness statements about the death of Canon Tyrell Fuller have led investigators to look into an assault involving him at Will's Place, a group home at 313 Park Ave. Fuller was employed there.

A search warrant indicates investigators believe two residents assaulted him less than 24 hours before his death.

The 21-year-old never regained consciousness after the collapse. He died Tuesday morning.

Benware said the State Bureau of Investigation has been asked to investigate. At this point, he said, police are not ruling out the possibility of a homicide.

"Any time you have a death involved, you have to follow the steps as if it could potentially turn into a homicide," Benware said.

Public health officials have said they are looking at whether Fuller had meningitis and are awaiting results of an autopsy. Results from an earlier exam were inconclusive. Students have been offered antibiotics as a precaution.

Will's Place is licensed as a residential facility for children and adolescents who are mentally ill or emotionally disturbed, Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Jim Jones said.

A man who answered the door there Friday identified himself only as a supervisor and said the staff is cooperating with investigators.

Fuller, a history major, was a senior from Lincolnton who was also a resident advisor at an off-campus student apartment complex and a volunteer at his local church. He would have graduated next month.

His funeral is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday in Cherryville at Zion Hill Baptist Church, where his father is a pastor.