Stephanie Esters, Kalamazoo Gazette, Michigan
Police and school officials say they are trying
to determine what
killed a 15-year-old autistic student who became
combative and was restrained by staff at Parchment
The student, Michael Renner-Lewis III, appeared
to have a good start at the first day of school
Monday morning, said Chief William Bongers of
the Parchment Police Department.
Sometime that morning, however, the sophomore
experienced a seizure.
He seemed to recover, but later he became combative,
out at others, Bongers said.
At least four staff members at the high school
apparently tried to
quiet the teen, each grabbing one of his limbs
and sitting down on the
ground with him inside a large room behind the
Michael appeared to calm down.
"At this point, while one of the aides was
talking to him, he closed
his eyes," Bongers said. "Immediately,
they realized something was
definitely wrong, and they activated 911."
At some point, the staffers tried CPR, and when
after getting a call at 1:57 p.m., he used a portable
heart defibrillator to try
to start the young man's heart.
He said emergency personnel worked on the teen
for at least 35
minutes. Michael was taken to Bronson Methodist
Hospital, where he was
Bongers said he had not yet had a chance to interview
involved in the rescue attempt.
School Superintendent Ronald Fuller said federal
prevented him from discussing certain details
about the incident.
"The young man was having a really good first
day and in no way was
this tied to any disciplinary measure," Fuller
said. "But we feel that at
this time, from our preliminary results, that
our people handled
everything in an appropriate manner and we don't
have an answer yet."
Fuller said investigations are being conducted
by the Kalamazoo
County Medical Examiner's office, Parchment Police
Department, KRESA and the
"We don't suspect foul play," Bongers
According to a woman who identified herself as
a family friend,
Michael attended a special class at Parchment
High School. She said
Michael's parents were not available for comment.
Funeral arrangements were pending at Harper Funeral