The festival-like atmosphere of Occupy San Diego turned somber on Monday afternoon after a man apparently fell to his death from a parking structure adjacent to the Civic Center. Police originally ruled the cause of death to be suicide, but the medical examiner later released information saying the man “lost his balance and fell out of the structure.”

While police say they do not believe the man was affiliated with Occupy San Diego, the death shocked the protesters gathered in the concourse, many of whom heard or saw the incident.

I was at the Civic Center throughout the day taking photos for a project I’ll unveil in the coming days and returned immediately after I heard the news. The Occupy San Diego group feels like a small community and that community was grief-stricken at the loss of a life on Monday afternoon. Here are some photos from the scene:

Photo by Sam Hodgson
A man who goes by the name Tribal fights back tears.
Photo by Sam Hodgson
A group of Occupy San Diego protesters gather in a circle for a moment of silence.
Photo by Sam Hodgson
The demonstrators joined hands during the moment of silence.
Photo by Sam Hodgson
Sophia Kahn, 24, embraces Nicco Esparza, 42.
Photo by Sam Hodgson
Nicco Esparza takes a moment to reflect after.
Photo by Sam Hodgson
Ryan Clement (center), Sarah Holland (right), Holly Hellerstedt (left, front) and Victor Velasquez (left, back) embrace soon after learning about the death.

Editor’s Note: Authorities originally said they believed the man’s death was a suicide. The county medical examiner later said, however, that it believed the man fell by accident. We’ve updated this post to reflect that new information.

I’m a photojournalist at You can contact me directly at or 619.550.5664.

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Sam Hodgson is a freelance photojournalist and contributor to Voice of San Diego. You can contact him at and check out his work...

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