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Student Found Dead In Apparent Suicide

Classmates Express Shock, Disbelief

By Elie G. Kaunfer, Crimson Staff Writer

A Harvard junior living off campus was found dead Sunday after he apparently committed suicide, police said.

James P. Houghton '94 died of a gunshot wound to the chest, according to county medical examiners who performed an autopsy yesterday.

Houghton, 21, was discovered at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the courtyard of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on Irving Street by two passers-by.

Houghton, who lived near the Academy in off-campus housing, was pronounced dead at the site by police officials.

President Neil L. Rudenstine issued a statement yesterday offering his condolences to the family.

"I was shocked and saddened to hear of the death of James Houghton of the Class of 1994," Rudenstine said. "This is a wrenching and tragic experience and I know his loss will be felt deeply by all who knew him.

"On behalf of the University, I would like to express our condolences to his family and friends, and to say that we are thinking of them during this very difficult time," Rudenstine added.

Lowell House Senior Tutor Alexandra L. Barcus said that although Houghton was not officially affiliated with her house, she wanted to encourage his many friends in the house to talk to her or another administrator about their loss. Houghton was an affiliate of Currier House.

"I would like to express my deep sympathy with all the friends [he] left behind. I know that it is a very disturbing experience," Barcus said.

Friends of Houghton contacted yesterday said they had noticed no signs of depression and were stunned by the death.

"This is a big shock," said Kirsten Landers '94. "It was very surprising to everyone. He was a really good guy."

Members of the Fly Club, a Harvard final club where Houghton was a member, flew their flag at half mast yesterday.

"He was one of the greatest guys I knew," said one member. "He was a happy-go-lucky guy."

Police on the scene did not find a suicide note and both Cambridge and Harvard police will conduct an investigation, University spokesperson Peter Costa said.

Detectives found a 12-gauge shotgun on the site registered in Houghton's name, according to Costa. One shot had been fired from the weapon, he said.

Officials at the registrar's office saidHoughton, a psychology concentrator, had notregistered for this semester. Friends said hearrived in Cambridge late Friday night.

University officials said individual counselingsessions would be offered to Houghton's friends.

"We will do all we can to help those who areaffected," said Dean of Students Archie C. EppsIII.

As of yesterday, no funeral service had beenscheduled.

Police Chief Paul E. Johnson said the lastHarvard suicide was by a graduate student in 1988

Officials at the registrar's office saidHoughton, a psychology concentrator, had notregistered for this semester. Friends said hearrived in Cambridge late Friday night.

University officials said individual counselingsessions would be offered to Houghton's friends.

"We will do all we can to help those who areaffected," said Dean of Students Archie C. EppsIII.

As of yesterday, no funeral service had beenscheduled.

Police Chief Paul E. Johnson said the lastHarvard suicide was by a graduate student in 1988

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