David Shannon, a Myers Park graduate in his first year at UNC Chapel Hill, climbed machinery at a concrete plant in Carrboro, fell more than 17 feet and crawled about 90 feet shortly before he died, Carrboro Police spokesman Chris Atack said Monday.
Atack said the department is still piecing together what happened immediately before Shannon fell on the concrete at the Ready Mixed concrete plant on Guthrie Avenue.
Police do not have any reason to believe at this point that anyone was with him at the time of his fall, said Atack.
The last time anyone saw Shannon was early Saturday morning at a private residence in the area. Witnesses said he was consuming alcohol, said Atack.
Atack said alcohol may have been a factor in the incident.
Shannons body was found by a group of students looking for him.
Although his body was less than 50 yards from a popular bike path between Chapel Hill and Carrboro, Atack said it was shielded from view because of the layout of the land.
On Sunday, family and friends gathered at the Shannon house in south Charlotte to mourn his death.
Friends said David Palmer Shannons signature phrase was here we go, and it summarized his approach to life.
From playing on the Myers Park High School football team to volunteering as a youth group leader at his church, Shannon poured his energy into his interests and was always quick with a smile.
Shannons body was found late Saturday night in Carrboro. The 2012 Myers Park graduate was in his first year at UNC Chapel Hill.
Police said they had not determined a cause of death. But in a statement early Sunday, Chancellor Holden Thorp said officials do not believe anyone else in the community is in danger.
An autopsy is expected to be completed early this week, said family friend Bryan Joyner.
Obviously, the family is devastated, said Joyner. I know there are a lot of questions that they have that theyre hoping to find the answers to.
More than 70 people gathered on Sunday at the home on Gordonvale Place in south Charlotte to share memories of Shannon and console his parents, Katy and Hugh, and his older brother, Stephen.
He had a truly loving and friendly personality. He made friends easily, said Joyner. He wasnt just well-liked, he was well-loved. Everyone adored David.
Joyner said Shannon was active at Carmel Baptist Church in Matthews while he was in high school. He was a leader in the youth group, taught childrens Sunday school and served as a counselor at the churchs childrens camp.
Joseph McMurry, a student pastor at Carmel Baptist, said Shannon was full of life and enthusiasm and always helped liven up the churchs youth Bible study.
He was a personality. He was the David Letterman to our Sunday morning program, said McMurry. He always had something witty to say.
McMurry said Shannon took an interest in mentoring younger parishioners and leading by example to show how to live the Bibles teachings.
He was very intentional about faith defining him in his life, said McMurry.
Shannon, who was more than 6 feet tall, also played defensive end and tight end for the Myers Park football team.
Matthew Speas, Shannons DECA adviser for the last four years, said everything came real easy to him.
He was always a bright guy, but in the last four years, Ive seen him grow into an outstanding young man, he said. He balanced fun and education well.
During his senior year, Shannons classmates voted him Best Future Husband, said Joyner.
He was like a gentle giant. He was very masculine but at the same time he had this kindheartedness about him, said friend Kyle Hofmann, a freshman at Wofford College.
Speas said during lunch at the International DECA competition in Salt Lake City, a homeless man asked Shannon for food, and Shannon ended up buying a meal for the man.
And Greg Taylor, the Myers Park head football coach, said that when he fell backward and passed out during a practice in the spring of 2011, Shannon was the first person he saw when he regained consciousness, reaching out his hand to help.
Its such a tragedy, said Taylor. David was much more than a football player. He was a great young man.
Shannon graduated from Myers Park in 2012 and planned to study business. He had just been accepted into the Chi Phi fraternity. His pledge period was expected to end within the next week, said Joyner.
It was the second death of an undergraduate student from Charlotte at a North Carolina state university in less than a month. On Sept. 30, 19-year-old Tyler Blalock, a graduate of North Mecklenburg High and an Appalachian State University student, slipped on the edge of a creek and struck his head on rocks, according to an autopsy, which listed the cause of death as accidental drowning.
Blalock was apparently alone when he fell into the water. His body was discovered in Boone by a passer-by.