SAN JOSE (CBS/AP) — An Irish college student injured in a balcony collapse in Berkeley said Friday in some of the first public comments from a victim that he felt guilty he lived when six other young people died.
Niall Murray, who appeared in a wheelchair with bandages on his arms and a boot on his left foot, choked up when he talked about going home soon and seeing the families of those who died.
“I remember the night, the only thing I don’t remember is how I hit the ground,” Murray said at a news conference at a San Jose hospital where he has been receiving treatment.
He also thanked nurses, doctors and diplomatic officials for their help.
Six students were killed and seven others were hospitalized after the balcony snapped off an apartment building during a June 16 birthday party and flung 13 people five stories below to the street.
Five of the dead were Irish students working in the San Francisco Bay Area for the summer, and the sixth was an Irish-American from California.
Killed were Ashley Donohoe, 22, of Rohnert Park, California, and Ireland’s Olivia Burke, Eoghan Culligan, Niccolai Schuster, Lorcan Miller and Eimear Walsh, all 21. The Irish students attended various colleges in Dublin.
Prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into the collapse but have not named a possible target. They say they would have to show criminal negligence was involved in order to file charges and gain convictions.
Lawyers say it’s difficult to win convictions against property owners, contractors and others involving allegations of construction failures. The last known criminal prosecution of a balcony collapse in California occurred in San Francisco almost 20 years ago.
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