Autopsy inconclusive for Thornwood High security guard

Autopsy inconclusive for Thornwood High security guard

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Richard Cowser, 54. (Photo courtesy of Thornwood High School) Richard Cowser, 54. (Photo courtesy of Thornwood High School)
(Craig Wall/Fox 32) (Craig Wall/Fox 32)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

An autopsy Friday was inconclusive for a south suburban high school security guard who died Thursday after breaking up a fight between two female students at the school.

The 54-year-old guard -- identified as Richard Cowser by the Cook County Medical Examiner's office -- died after trying to break up a fight between two students at Thornwood High School in South Holland.

An autopsy Friday was inconclusive with results pending further studies, according to the medical examiner's office.

RELATED: Well-liked security guard dies breaking up fight at Thornwood H.S.

Before the varsity football game, the host team, Bradley Bourbonnais, put sports on hold to recognize Richard Cowser who was more than just a security guard, he was a Thornwood alum.

Team members were not allowed to comment and students declined to talk about the incident after being told not to by school officials. Parents said their hearts go out to Cowser's family.

Security officers responded to a fight in a hallway at the school at 17101 S. Park Ave., according to a South Holland police statement.

South Holland police Chief Greg Baker said the fight had to do with a negative comment one girl made about another girl wearing the same clothing as her.

As officers tried to break up the fight, one of them fell against a locker and was injured, police said. South Holland paramedics were called to help the guard, who was unconscious and having trouble breathing.

Cowser, of the 100 block of East 173rd Street in South Holland, was pronounced dead at 1:33 p.m. at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey, according to the medical examiner's office.

"We would like to express our heartfelt condolences to the family of Richard Cowser," a statement from Thornwood High said. "Rich was a treasured member of the Thornwood High School family. He worked as a security guard at the school and he was a former student."

"We are also working with the Cowser family to determine the best way to honor Rich and his legacy," the statement continued.

The school will be offering counseling to students and staff Friday, the statement said.

Police said they were interviewing the students involved in the fight and witnesses to the altercation. Police plan to review cell phone video taken by at least one student before deciding whether charges are appropriate against the 17-and 18-year-old girls involved in the fight.

The school is holding an internal investigation to determine details of the incident, according to its statement.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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