Man falls from balcony at Legacy Towers, details of fall still emerging


By Katherine Klingseis, [email protected]

A male fell from a fifth floor balcony at Legacy Towers at approximately 1:50 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 26, Ames Police said. Sgt. Dan Walter said the investigation is still active. 

Megan Swindell

(Updated 9:10 p.m. Aug. 27)

Ames Police Cmdr. Jim Robinson stated that the investigation is still active.

“It was an overt action on his own and whether it was a jump or fall is undetermined,” Robinson said. “We are still waiting to interview [Christian McKee, the victim].”

Robinson added that there is no criminal activity suspected as McKee was the only one out on the balcony at that time.

“We were told that the victim had frequented many parties that evening, so it is possible that alcohol was present,” Robinson said.

Pamela Anthony, Dean of Students, said that the University is not a part of the investigation. “I can’t confirm anything about an individual student’s case.”

Both Robinson and Anthony encourage students to practice general safety.

“[The Ames Police] would ask students to be careful and not to overindulge in alcohol,” Robinson said. “The railing was there for a purpose and he engaged in very dangerous activity.”

“Any time a student experiences a tragic event, the school is always available to reach out to any individual seeking help.”  

(Updated 1:57 p.m. Monday, Aug. 27):

The man who fell from the fifth floor balcony of Legacy Apartments has been identified as Christian McKee, 19, of Ames. McKee is a freshman in engineering. 

According to the news release from Ames Police Cmdr. Jim Robinson, “McKee sustained a number of serious injuries from the fall and was transported by air ambulance to Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines for treatment.”

Follow-up investigation conducted by the Ames Police Department has determined that McKee had climbed over a fifth floor balcony railing onto the ledge of the apartment complex, the release said. The release also said, “Witness statements indicate that McKee was alone on the balcony at the time of the fall.”

(Updated 10:52 a.m. Monday, Aug.27)

Cmdr. Jim Robinson of the Ames Police Department said Monday morning that the man who fell from the balcony is still alive. Robinson said he will issue a news release Monday afternoon.

Ames Police responded to a report of a male ISU student who had fallen from a fifth-floor balcony at 1:32 a.m. Sunday on the south side of Legacy Towers, 119 Stanton Ave.

Sgt. Dan Walter, of Ames Police, said an officer immediately arrived at the scene after having been flagged down by an individual seconds after the fall.

Walter said no foul play was suspected. The investigation is still active.

The police are not commenting on the current condition of the man who fell, but Walter said the man was taken to Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines.

As of Sunday afternoon, the police could not confirm whether the man jumped from the balcony. The student’s name also has not been released.

Multiple witnesses reported that the man jumped from the balcony.

“I was out on the [bar] deck before, during and after he jumped,” said an employee of Big Shots Bar who wishes to remain anonymous. “He was out on one of the balconies — there wasn’t anyone up there with him — then he climbed over the railing and was hanging on with his arms behind him.”

The witness said someone from the bar deck yelled at the man encouraging him to climb back over the railing. The witness explained that the man did climb back over the railing but immediately returned.

“Next thing I knew, he was off the ledge and on the ground,” the witness said. “I really couldn’t tell if he jumped or fell.”

Eli Gildermaster, another witness, said he was across the street by the fire station. He said either security or cops were flashing their flashlights on the man on the balcony. 

Gildermaster said he saw the man fall but did not see him hit the ground.

“I looked away because you knew it wasn’t going to be good,” Gildermaster said. “He fell feet first — I don’t see how it could be anything but a jump.”

Heather Curry, sophomore in pre-business, said she was on a balcony of the seventh floor of Cyclone Plaza, the apartment building across the street from Legacy.

“The first thing we all thought was a bar fight, then there was crime scene tape,” Curry said. “It went from everyone at Legacy standing on their balconies watching to evacuated balconies with black figures with flashlights looking down to what I assume was to figure out where he fell from.”

Jim Robinson, commander of criminal investigations for the Ames Police, was not available for comments.

Check back with the Daily as this story develops.