BREAKING: Second Cal State LA student death ruled ‘natural’


Will Baker

Candles lit in honor of Edgar Aguirre, who was shot near campus on April 1 weekend. He was Austin Mace’s roommate on campus. Photo by Will Baker.

Austin Mace, a junior studying English, was found deceased in his on-campus apartment on April 5. A campus-wide email notified the Cal State LA community of the tragic news on the same day.

Mace’s death was “natural” and a “non-specific cardiomyopathy” was the leading cause, according to an autopsy report obtained by the University Times (UT), from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner.

The initial campus-wide email, sent by Public Safety, reported on just the discovery of Mace. Later, an additional email was sent reporting that he had a roommate, Edgar Aguirre, who was fatally shot over the April 1 weekend, days before Mace’s body was discovered.

The timing of both students’ deaths impacted students greatly. 

Nicole Morales-Garcia, a junior studying animation, said the news that Mace and Aguirre lived in the same apartment was “bewildering.” 

“As a student that lives in South Village, which is close to the Phase (II) Apartments, [Mace’s death] is really terrifying to think about,” Morales-Garcia said.

Despite attempts at reaching them, Public Safety and Public Affairs for Cal State LA have not issued a statement to the UT regarding this death.

Students are feeling emotionally affected by the news and are trying to comprehend the tragedies. 

“It’s really such a coincidence,” Morales-Garcia said. “Some of my peers thought it might be connected in some way. It is really concerning.”

Morales-Garcia said that her classmates were “all devastated and scared” after receiving the email about Mace’s death.

Morales-Garcia said she and others hope to continue being updated about the incidents from the university, “especially students that live in Phase Apartments and South Village.”

“It may be graphic and triggering to some people, but not knowing is more petrifying,” she said. “Some of us are thinking this could happen to us. We don’t want to think about this the next day we have school on campus.”

On the Public Safety website they state, “If any student is feeling unsafe while on campus, they can contact Public Safety. Public Safety offers a 24/7 walking escort service, a safety app, and other safety resources.”

Morales-Garcia also hopes Cal State LA will honor these two recent student deaths with a tribute or memorial service.

The UT contacted the Office of the Vice President of Student Life, who stated that something is in the works to honor both students who passed. Further details outlining what they plan to do were not provided.

In the campus-wide email, numerous resources regarding counseling and safety for the entire Cal State LA Community were provided. During this past week, counselors were located in the Phase II lounge for select hours. In addition, the email included:

“Drop-in counseling for students who are impacted by these incidents will also be available on the second floor of the Student Health Center at Station 4, Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. If students are experiencing a mental health crisis after hours, they can call the CAPS After-Hours Crisis Hotline 24/7 at 323-343-3300 to be connected to a counselor.

Employees may find counseling assistance through the Employee Assistance Program, LifeMatters, by calling 1-800-367-7474 or visiting the LifeMatters website. Our company password is GOEAGLES.”

For more information about what Public Safety offers, call 323-343-3700.