Jan 162012
Authors: Erin Udell

The moment junior CSU student Cong Dang saw his lifelong friend being pushed into surgery was also the moment he decided to get his tattoo — a wing sketched around the initials “CME.”

Chris Michael Engel, a junior computer science major from Highlands Ranch, died on Jan. 1 after falling at a Pretty Lights concert in Broomfield.

Dang says he will always remember Engel’s selfless and humble nature.

“Chris was awesome,” Dang said, adding that the two had been friends since third grade and lived together in Allison Hall during their freshman year. “He was really shy in high school but changed in college. He was so smart, just really gifted.”

Broomfield police, in a press release, said Engel was discovered at 1:15 a.m. after falling from the second level seating area behind the main stage of the First Bank Center, where he had been climbing down a set of retracted bleachers after the show.

Emergency medical personnel were on the scene “within moments,” the release went on to say. Engel was then transported to an area hospital where he stayed in critical condition.

Alcohol was detected in his system at the time, but foul play was not involved in the incident.

A statement, released by Pretty Lights’ (real name Derek Smith) public relations team, said the entire Pretty Lights team was “devastated.”

“It’s truly heartbreaking that someone lost his life in connection with an event meant to inspire people,” Smith stated in the release. “I will never forget this, and it serves as a startling reminder of how precious and fragile life is. My heart and deepest condolences go out to his family.”

CSU Spokeswoman Dell Rae Moellenberg also released a statement days after his death, saying, “the university extends its condolences to his family and friends during this very sad time.”

A service was held in Engel’s memory at St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Highlands Ranch on Jan. 7.

In the days following Engel’s fall, an outpouring of love came in the form of posts and pictures on Engel’s Facebook wall, many of them from members of Engel’s fraternity, Kappa Sigma.

“…you were so full of life and positive energy,” read a message posted by Cody Chacon. “…truly a gentleman and the definition of a brother of Kappa Sigma.”

Dang, also a member of Kappa Sigma, said everyone in the fraternity is doing well and being supportive.

“You can’t be too sad,” he said. “It’s not going to help anything. He’s gone. You just have to keep going.”

News Editor Erin Udell can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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