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Emerson student died of blunt force head injuries; death called a homicide


The 19-year-old Emerson College student who died last week following an altercation in Brighton was killed by blunt force head injuries, records show.

The cause of death for Daniel J. Hollis was listed on his death certificate. The manner of death was homicide.

Boston police say Hollis died after a reported assault and battery around 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 28 near 15 Park Vale Ave. in Brighton.

When officers arrived, they found Hollis unconscious and suffering from a head injury. While Hollis was on life support at the hospital, his family had said he was not expected to regain consciousness.


He was pronounced dead Oct. 2 at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, according to records.

No arrests have been made in connection with Hollis’s death. The investigation remains active.

A memorial service for Hollis is scheduled for Sunday at the Faith Community Church in Hopkinton, according to his death notice. Visiting hours are scheduled for Saturday at the Buma-Sargeant Funeral Home in Milford.

The death notice posted on the funeral home’s website said Hollis was a 2018 graduate of Hopedale Junior and Senior High School, where he served as his class secretary for six years, was captain of the lacrosse team, and assistant captain for a co-op high school hockey team.

“Daniel was many things student, athlete, leader, artist, music-lover, friend. He was just 19 years old and only beginning to experience the world around him,” read his death notice.

Jennifer Kelly, Hollis’s mother, wrote previously on the website that her son and his friends were leaving a party when they were “confronted by another group of college-aged boys.”

“Words were exchanged, pushing/shoving started, and in the scuffle, we believe Dan was hit and subsequently hit his head on cement/bricks as he fell,” Kelly wrote.


She wrote in a separate posting, “His family and the small town of Hopedale, Massachusetts provided a strong foundation from which he took off to explore the thrills of life in the city at Emerson College. He looked forward to traveling abroad and expanding his creative pursuits through clothing and marketing. While often receiving recognition for his play on the field or ice, it was the camaraderie of the team that Dan most loved about sports. For Daniel, life was about relationships and enjoying experiences with others.”

Emerson president Lee Pelton led a memorial service for Hollis last week inside the Semel Theater along with Rev. Julie Avis Rogers, campus chaplain.

Pelton later called the service “a “deeply emotional gathering.” He said of Hollis, “This is a young man who was chock-full of life. . . . To have his journey of becoming the person that he was meant to be cut short is something that fills all of our hearts with grief.”

Danny McDonald and Michael Levenson of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.