Penn State suspends fraternity after teen dies at off-campus house

It is unclear whether hazing played a role in the death of John "Jack" Schoenig, 17. The cause of death is pending an autopsy.

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By Erik Ortiz

A fraternity at Penn State University remained suspended Wednesday amid an investigation into the death of a teenager at an off-campus house allegedly occupied by members of the group.

The interim suspension of the Alpha Delta Chapter of the Chi Phi fraternity continues "until more information is known" about the incident over the weekend, the school said in a statement, the latest that appears related to Penn State's Greek system, which has been under a spotlight in recent years after a student's death.

Emergency responders were called to the home at around 9:30 p.m. Saturday for a 17-year-old male who was unconscious and had shallow breathing, State College police said. He was in full cardiac arrest and died at the scene.

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The teenager was later identified as John "Jack" Schoenig. His cause of death was part of an ongoing investigation, Centre County coroner Scott Sayers told NBC News.

Police said there were several witnesses at the house when Schoenig became unconscious and there were no signs of trauma on his body. It is unclear whether hazing played a role in his death.

Officials did not immediately disclose what Schoenig's relationship was with the Chi Phi members, but said he was not enrolled at Penn State.

"Penn State offers deepest sympathies to the family and friends of this young man," the school said.

Michael Azarian, Chi Phi's national executive director, said the off-campus residence was not part of fraternity activities and the national organization will continue to monitor the investigation.

"The Chi Phi Fraternity prayers are with this young man's family and friends during this incredibly difficult time," Azarian said in a statement.

The fraternity's suspension came as the parents of Penn State student Timothy Piazza, who died in 2017 in a hazing-related incident, visited Capitol Hill to gain support for the federal END ALL Hazing Act. The bill seeks to prevent hazing incidents on college campuses by calling for more accountability and transparency for Greek organizations.

Kimberly Flores Gaynor contributed.