Lauren McCluskey University of Utah track and field athlete senior killed by Melvin Rowland whom she sought to break things up with after finding out his prior criminal history.
A track and field athlete at the University of Utah was killed by a register sex offender with whom she had a previous relationship, police and university officials said.
Identified as the victim was senior student, Lauren McCluskey, of Pullman, Washington, who was killed late Monday on campus by a suspect identified as Melvin Rowland, 37, who was found dead hours later at a church off campus.
At the time of her shooting death, McCluskey, 21, was a a senior communication major. ABC News reported the woman being found dead in a parked car near a residential hall on campus. The suspect believed to be responsible for her death was found dead a short time later at an off-campus location- following police closing in on the man.
McCluskey’s death followed University Police saying they received a call concerning a report of a possible abduction in a parking lot near a dorm earlier Monday evening.
‘This news has shaken not only myself but our entire University of Utah athletics family to its core,’ Utah’s director of athletics, Mark Harlan, said in a statement. ‘We have university counselors and psychologists on standby to support Lauren’s teammates, coaches and friends.’
University Police Lt. Brian Wahlin told the Salt Lake Tribune that officers were searching for Rowland after he got into an argument with McCluskey at about 9 p.m. on Monday. A shooting on campus was reported by university officials about an hour later.
Hours later, at about 2 a.m. Monday, the University of Utah alerted students that Rowland had been located and was no longer a threat to students on campus.
Lauren McCluskey University of Utah senior wanted to break things off after finding out Melvin Rowland’s true identity and prior criminal history:
KUTV2News cited the victim’s mother who said her daughter had dated Rowland for a month and that she ended the relationship with the man October 10, 2018 after discovering he’d lied about his name, age and criminal history.
At the time, McCluskey blocked his and his friend’s numbers and complained to University of Utah police she was being harassed.
On the evening of October 10th the track and field athlete had requested the University of Utah police accompany her to get her car back.
At one point during the evening, as McCluskey was on the phone with a friend and returning to her university apartment was set upon according to the friend.
‘I suddenly heard her yell, ‘No, no, no.’ the friend said according to KUTV2News.
‘I thought she might have been in a car accident. That was the last time I heard from her. My husband called 911,’ the friend said.
Melvin Rowland registered sex offender:
Wahlin told USA Today that police chased Rowland into a church where they found him dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound from the same weapon he used to shoot McCluskey.
‘We don’t believe there is any more threat or danger to the public,’ Wahlin said.
Day and evening classes were canceled in the aftermath of McCluskey’s death and a vigil in her memory planned for Wednesday. Counselors and other support resources will be also be made available to students, university officials said.
‘Lauren was a highly regarded member of the university’s track and field team and an outstanding scholar, a senior majoring in communication,’ the university’s statement continued. ‘Her family is understandably in shock at this news about their daughter. They are heartbroken.’
Yet to be necessarily understood is the nature of the ‘previous’ relationship between McCluskey and Rowland and what led to the man seemingly seeking to assuage he woman prior to her shooting death.