Santa Monica High School freshman dies after falling from apartment building while on LSD

A student practices on the field on the campus of Santa Monica High School.
(Karen Tapia-Andersen / Los Angeles Times)

A 15-year-old Santa Monica High student died after trying the drug LSD over the weekend and falling from an apartment building balcony, school officials said Monday.

In a letter addressed to parents and family members, Principal Antonio Shelton said freshman Andre Zuczek died from major brain trauma.

The letter said Zuczek’s family wanted to share the full circumstances of his death “so that other parents may be spared from losing a child to drug use.”


A statement from Zuczek’s family said he and some friends tried LSD, commonly referred to as acid, on Saturday.

“Things went badly very quickly as Andre had what is though to be a ‘bad trip,’ and fell from a third-floor apartment,” the statement said.

Santa Monica police Lt. Saul Rodriguez said officers arrived about 3 p.m. to an apartment building in the 1700 block of Ocean Avenue, where there were reports of people acting erratically, breaking items and possibly experiencing an overdose of hallucinogens in one of the units.

When officers arrived, they saw Zuczek standing on the balcony of a third-floor unit. As they approached, he fell off.

Paramedics took the teen to the hospital, where he later died, Rodriguez said.

The statement issued by school officials called on community members to talk about Zuczek and his death with their children and families.

“In sharing, please be aware that hearsay and gossip can be very hurtful and can add more sorrow to the grief we are all feeling at this time,” the statement said.


Shelton, the principal, said counselors were available to students needing support as they grieve.

Police said another minor was found in the common area of the apartment complex and was treated for minor injuries and for ingesting narcotics. He was taken to a hospital for treatment, Rodriguez said.

To read the article in Spanish, click here

Twitter: @MattHjourno



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9:30 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details from Lt. Saul Rodriguez, a spokesman for the Santa Monica Police Department.

This article was originally published at 5:50 p.m.