Police identify Kent State student killed by train



Leighann McGivern

The Kent Police Department has identified the man struck and killed by a train May 27 as 20-year-old Kent State student Christian O’Keeffe.

O’Keeffe, a Roosevelt High School graduate, was found by the CSX Transportation Co. railroad tracks about one mile north of Middlebury Road, just after 12:30 a.m. near the Portage Hike and Bike Trail bridge over the Cuyahoga River.

Based on the circumstances of his death, police believe it was a suicide.

In November, Martin Alvord, visual communication design major, committed suicide by lying down in front of a freight train near Towner’s Woods park. O’Keeffe’s death would be the fourth student death in the last seven months to be ruled a suicide.

O’Keeffe was a contributing writer for Luna Negra, the university’s literary magazine. Brittany Nader, senior magazine journalism major and co-editor of Luna Negra, met O’Keeffe in her College Writing class.

“He was a true talent that doesn’t come along often in this world,” Nader said. “The Luna Negra staff was fortunate to have Christian submit his work to the publication, and his poem and spoken delivery of ‘Apples and Bread’ was fantastic and memorable. Christian’s memory will undoubtedly live on through his beautiful and inspiring poetry.”

Although Christian was often quiet around people, Nader said he had an unforgettably warm and sensitive presence.

“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Christian O’Keeffe,” said Emily Vincent, director of university media relations, in an email. “The university extends its deepest sympathies as the community mourns the loss of this young life.”

Contact Leighann McGivern at [email protected].