A female student athlete at the University of Utah was shot and killed while on campus on Monday evening by her sex offender ex-boyfriend who lied to her about his name, age, and criminal history.
Lauren McCluskey, of Pullman, Washington was found dead in a car in her dormitory’s parking lot following a dispute with 37-year-old Melvin Rowland.
The 21-year-old had broken up with Rowland after a month of dating on October 9 when she learned of his true identity and that he was jailed for attempting to sexually abuse a minor.
She was on the phone with her mother on Monday and returning from a night class when she was attacked and killed by her embittered ex-boyfriend.
She was a senior studying communications, was ‘an accomplished student athlete’, and a star on the school’s track and field team, the school said in a statement released Tuesday.
The University of Utah was placed on lockdown after the shooting was reported at 9pm Monday evening, according to University of Utah Police Lt. Brian Wahlin.
The lockdown was lifted before midnight as police determined the suspect shooter was no longer on campus.
Multiple law enforcement agencies worked together to locate Rowland, a black male 6ft 3in tall and weighing 250 pounds. Police later said he is a registered sex offender.
By 12.01am Rowland was identified as the shooting suspect as he was seen fleeing the dorm Medical Towers around the time of the shooting.
He was later found dead inside the Trinity AME Church at 1.47am of a self-inflicted gunshot.
‘They chased him to this location, where they found that he had forced entry into the church. After clearing the building, they found our suspect deceased in a room in the church, suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound,’ Lt. Brian Wahlin said to ABC.
Police have not released a motive for the shooting and an investigation is still underway but say the two got into a dispute that evening. The two had a previous relationship, cops say.
Rowland was a resident of Salt Lake City and in 2004 was convicted of attempted forcible sex abuse and enticing a minor over the internet, according to court records. He was released from Utah State Prison in 2013 after nine years behind bars.
It’s not clear how he was able to obtain a gun with his criminal history.