911 Call Reveals Details in Marching Band Members Death
911 Operator: "Is he breathing or is he not breathing?"
A chilling 911 call captures the frantic efforts to save the life of the Florida A&M University drum major who died after a suspected hazing.
Robert Champion collapsed on the band bus after performing at a football game.
Caller: "We don't know if he's breathing or not, but we need an ambulance ASAP."
The caller doesn't say that Champion had been repeatedly punched in the abdomen on the bus, allegedly in a hazing ritual, but you can hear the desperation and panic in his voice.
Caller: "He wasn't responding. We thought he was breathing because he was making noises, but I don't know if he's breathing now."
911 Operator: "Ok. Is he awake?"
Caller: "His eyes are open. He's not responding."
911 Operator: "Ok, but is he breathing?"
Caller: "I have no idea! I cannot tell you that!"
911 Operator: "Ok."
Caller: "He just threw up."
Ambulances arrived as band members were trying to perform CPR.
Caller: "He's in my hands, ma'am. He's cold. He's in my hands."
The band known as the Marching 100 is famous for its high-energy routines and represented the State of Florida at President Obama's Inauguration.
Members of the band marched at the head of Champion's funeral Thursday in Decatur, Georgia.
They performed their signature dance step in honor of their fallen comrade, watched by his grieving parents.
His body was carried in a silver casket in a horse drawn hearse.
We're now learning more about the hazing culture that reportedly existed within the band. The director of the band, who was fired in the wake of the scandal, says that each instrument section had its own bizarre and violent rituals.
He said the groups had gang-style names. The saxophone section was known as the Gestapo, and the clarinets were known as the Clones.
He says he suspended 26 band members for hazing just days before Champion died.