SAN MARCOS, TEXAS - It was an emotional night at Texas State University Wednesday night as students gathered on campus to remember 20-year-old Matthew Ellis.
The sophomore, a new member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, died in his sleep Monday morning.
Hundreds of students surrounded the Fighting Stallions statue at the Quad on the school's campus as part of a vigil that was planned for him.
Standing closest to the center were his Phi Kappa Psi brothers, many fighting tears as they remembered Ellis.
"He’s goofy, funny. You couldn’t have a conversation with Matt, or go a day without seeing Matt and not laugh with him about something," said Zach, a student and fellow Phi Kappa Psi member.
Zach said he rushed and pledged with Ellis, and the pair had planned to live with each other.
“I saw Matt every day since the beginning of August, and these past few days have been tough," he said.
The hour-long candlelight vigil included music prayer, and short speeches from many of Ellis' friends.
San Marcos police said Ellis was found unresponsive by friends shortly after 11 a.m. Monday at the Millenium Apartments off-campus. The preliminary investigation indicates alcohol may have been a factor – though authorities are awaiting toxicology results.
In response to his death, Texas State President Denise Trauth suspended all Greek activities on-campus.
In a statement, the university's Interfraternity Council said they had voted to suspend chapter activities prior to Trauth's decision, adding in part, "we must focus on substantive change in the culture and goals of our fraternity and community."
But that was the last thing on the mind of mourners Wednesday night. For Texas State, it’s a loss to their tight-knit Bobcat community. For Phi Kappa Psi, it’s a loss of a brother. For Zach, it’s a loss he’ll keep with him forever.
“He’s going to be my best friend for life. He may not be with us here … but I’m going to carry Matt with me until the end," he said.
The national Phi Kappa Psi fraternity said in a statement that the Texas State chapter had been suspended due to an unrelated matter last week. They would not clarify what led to that suspension.
In a statement, Texas State student body president Connor Clegg told KVUE:
At this time Student Government is focusing its energy on mourning the loss of one of our fellow Bobcats. While this campus is large, we maintain a very close knit community and each student will be uniquely impacted by this tragedy. Our condolences and thoughts are with Matthew's family and friends.
San Marcos Police Chief Chase Stapp provided an update on the investigation.
"This is an ongoing investigation, and it's too early to know if criminal charges will be warranted," Stapp said. "Once all the evidence is known, if we have probable cause to file charges, we'll work with the district attorney's office to move forward at that time."
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