Gainesville police say UF student’s balcony fall likely was suicide

Feb 06, 2018
Gainesville police are viewing the death of a University of Florida student in October as an apparent suicide.

The October death of a University of Florida student from Palm Beach County, who fell from the third-floor balcony of an off-campus apartment house, is being viewed as an apparent suicide, according to a Gainesville police report.

Ian Burns, a graduate of Suncoast High School in Riviera Beach, had turned 20 two weeks before his Oct. 21 death at the University House Apartments about a mile northeast of campus.

Several people called 911 at about 6 p.m. from the Northwest 13th Street complex to say they saw Burns fall.

The police report said Burns had been visiting two friends when they saw him run from a bathroom to the balcony.

Burns was pronounced dead at Shands Hospital. The report said the case was being closed as a suicide, pending toxicology results. Police did not indicate when those results will be available.

The report said Burns’ roommate said Burns had sent him disconcerting text messages prior to that evening.

Ian Burns was a senior majoring in mechanical engineering with a second major at the school of music, where he sang, his family said in October.

His family said he was an Eagle Scout who earned his rank doing projects at MacArthur Beach State Park in North Palm Beach. He graduated from Bak Middle School of the Arts in West Palm Beach and Suncoast’s advance-placement “capstone” program for mechanical, science and engineering studies.

His family had no comment when reached Monday, when Gainesville police had provided the report to The Post.