Freshman student passes away in residence hall room


Courtesy of Lorenzo Jones' Facebook Page

Missouri Southern student Lorenzo “Renzo” Jones, fresman choral major, passed away in his Blaine Hall residence room October 9, 2016 from natural causes. Jones, 19 years old, was in his first semester at Southern.

Jack Girard

Missouri Southern freshman Lorenzo “Renzo” Jones died of natural causes on Oct. 9, 2016, at the age 19. His roommates found him unresponsive at roughly 11 a.m.

Campus police responded first, followed by the Joplin Police and Fire Departments. The Fire Department used CPR upon arrival. Reports showed that Jones’ heart was still beating, but there was no sign of breathing. He was rushed to Mercy Hospital on a stretcher and continued on CPR, but rescue crews were unable to resuscitate him.

School officials including Ken Kennedy, chief of the University police department, and Darren Fullerton, vice president for student affairs, were contacted during the event. Fullerton met with emergency services at the hospital. 

Naijah Antoinette Triplett, one of Jones’ friends from St. Louis, reported on the Joplin Globe website, “He died from complications of diabetes and had a seizure.”

However, official sources have not confirmed that information.

Dr. Susan Smith, one of Jones’ voice professors, offered a statement to the family.

“I am so sorry for your loss,” she wrote on the website. “I only got to work with Lorenzo just a few times, but he was obviously a very gifted singer and musician. Even though his time at Missouri Southern was too brief, he will be remembered and missed. My sincerest condolences.”

His funeral was held at Memorial Baptist Church nine days after his death in his hometown of St. Louis. Many of his friends changed their Facebook profile pictures to purple text boxes with the caption “Rest in heaven, Lorenzo.”

“He was very friendly, he didn’t know a stranger,” said Samantha Quakenbush, Blaine Hall residence director.

Jones was a choral music major who was reportedly well liked by his teachers. While it was his first year at Southern, he had previously studied classical voice performance at Roosevelt University. Jones connected quickly with Southern students whom he had attended school with earlier and made lasting impressions.

“He was a good kid with tons of talent and potential. He tried to be involved with as much as he could,” said Dr. David Sharlow, director of choral music.