Manhattan Community Reacts to Teen’s Death in Arizona

The Manhattan community is reeling following news that one of their own died in a 10 story fall Sunday morning in Tempe, Arizona.

18-year-old Naomi McClendon was a Manhattan High School graduate with close ties to the school.

“She was such a kind, generous and fun person to be around that I couldn’t believe it,” said Joy Spickelmier.

Joy Spickelmier met Naomi McClendon when they were in 4th grade together. She did not know how to react when she heard the news that her friend had died.

“She was the last person I expected this to happen. I saw her going on to bigger and better things,” said Spickelmier.
“I flipped out, I slammed my laptop, I threw it away,” said Emily Gassmann, friend of Naomi.

18-year-old Naomi McClendon was a Manhattan native, she graduated Manhattan High School last year.

“She finds the positive in anything, she’s that kind of person, she can make you smile on the saddest day,” said Spickelmier.

The Arizona State Freshman fell from the 10th floor of a building near campus around 2:40 a.m. Sunday morning according to a Tempe Police Department press release. She was taken to the hospital where she died from her injuries. Police say alcohol appears to be a factor in the accident.

The news of Naomi’s death has hit the Manhattan High School community hard. Her parents still work here and her brother is in the sophomore class.

“I have a daughter graduated from this school last year as well. And went to elementary school and middle school with Naomi and I know her parents fairly well,” said MHS Principal, Greg Hoyt.

Naomi was the student body president her senior year, and participated in several other activities.

“She was just a very aspiring individual,” said Shelby Root, a friend of Naomi.

“We have a ripple effect I think that is beyond the normal tragedy in many respects,” said Hoyt.

Counselors are at Manhattan High School ready to help anyone who may want to talk.

Services for Naomi will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 5, at Westview Community Church in Manhattan. There will be a candlelight vigil for Naomi on Sunday, April 6, from 5-9 p.m. at Manhattan City Park.

Naomi’s friends have set up a fund to help her family with some of the costs. If you would like to donate, you can visit here.

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