Musician Falls to His Death in Front of Shoppers After 'Clowning Around' on a Mall Escalator
Josh Martin, a grindcore musician, died after hitting his head on a table when he fell from an escalator
A 45-year-old man lost his balance and fell to his death at a Rhode Island mall on Monday night.
The man plunged to his death shortly after he was seen “clowning around and riding the rail of the escalator” a witness told authorities, according to a police report obtained by WPRI.
The man — who was later identified as Josh Martin, a veteran guitarist from the Massachusetts grindcore scene, by Pitchfork — fell from Providence Place Mall’s second floor around 10:45 p.m.
Martin landed in the mall’s food court, slamming his head on a table. He was treated for head trauma at the scene and was transported to Rhode Island Hospital by paramedics, where he was later pronounced dead, WPRI reports.
The Providence Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request to confirm Martin’s identity as the victim.
“It’s quite a big drop,” Providence Police Maj. David Lapatin told WPRI. “Anybody who has been to the Providence Place mall in the food court, you see the two escalators going up to the movie theater and Dave & Buster’s, you know how high that is.”
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Grindcore –– which combines inspiration from hardcore punk, metal, and noise rock –– originated in the 1980s, and Martin played in a collection of bands throughout the 1990s and 2000s but was best known for his time in band Anal C—.
The guitarist caused a bit of a stir back in November 2017 when he heckled KISS frontman Gene Simmons during a concert at Providence’s Veterans Memorial Auditorium. According to Vanyaland, Martin began yelling at Simmons during a portion of the show where the legendary rocker was handed a key to the city by a local politician. Martin’s heckling was so abrasive that Simmons allegedly ran into the audience to try to fight him.
“Is this a f—— joke?” Martin allegedly shouted, before referencing Simmons’ former bandmate, Ace Frehley. “Ace is better than this!”
Maj. Lapatin told WPRI that Martin’s death appears to be accidental, and while they plan to review surveillance footage and continue the investigation, there was no indication that he purposely jumped or was pushed over the escalator’s railing.
“It’s a death,” he explained, “so any death, you know we take to the extreme in our investigation and we have to make sure if it’s accidental, it’s accidental.”
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Sadly, Martin’s death isn’t the only one to occur at the Providence Place Mall, a Massachusetts woman died when she fell from an escalator while celebrating a birthday in 2004, and another man fell from an escalator in 2009 but survived his fall, according to WPRI.