American dies in fall outside Okinawa nightclub
Stars and Stripes December 15, 2004
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Military and Okinawa prefectural police are investigating a 47-year-old American’s death early Saturday outside a club on Gate Two Street in Okinawa City.
The man was identified as Thomas Ball, a Marine Corps Community Services employee who worked on Camp Foster, said 2nd Lt. Eric Tausch, a Marine Corps spokesman.
Ball was fatally injured about 2:45 a.m. Saturday when he fell down the stairs leading to Fujiyama’s, a popular club on Gate Two Street near Kadena Air Base, according to an Okinawa Prefectural Police report.
Military police from the air base responded to an emergency call and Ball was transported to the U.S. Naval Hospital on Camp Lester. There, at 3:43 a.m., a medical examiner pronounced him dead from severe head trauma.
The maintenance team leader for MCCS’s Facilities Maintenance Branch is survived by his wife, a civilian employee on Kadena Air Base, and by several children, Tausch stated in a news release.
A memorial service is scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday at Koza Baptist Church in Okinawa City.
“The victim was taken to the U.S. Naval Hospital by military ambulance,” a spokesman for the Okinawa prefectural police said. “When our officers arrived at the site, the victim was lying on the sidewalk, outside the bar, and a military ambulance crew was already giving him CPR and other first aid.”
According to the report, Ball apparently fell down the steep stairs leading to the second-story club.
“We are cooperating with military investigators to determine whether the fall was an accident or if any criminal act [was] involved,” the police spokesman said. “Nobody has been arrested or detained in this case.”
He said military authorities likely will handle the case if the death appears to entail a criminal act and if only servicemembers or civilians on Okinawa under the status of forces agreement are involved. Under SOFA, the U.S. military has jurisdiction over offenses by SOFA members against other SOFA members.
“In either event, we are looking into the matter while working closely with the military,” the Okinawa police spokesman said.
Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.