Home / BreakingNews / University of Utah student shot to death on campus, allegedly by registered sex offender

University of Utah student shot to death on campus, allegedly by registered sex offender

A University of Utah student was fatally shot on campus Monday night, prompting a university lockdown and a citywide manhunt as police scoured the area for clues.

Officers with the university and the Salt Lake City Police Department found the suspected shooter, Melvin Rowland, dead at a nearby church after receiving a tip, authorities said.

Rowland, 37, lead officers on a brief foot chase before he fatally shot himself as officers closed in, police said.

“They chased him to this location, where they found that he had forced entry into the church,” University of Utah Police Services Lt. Brian Wahlin said. “After clearing the building, they found our suspect deceased in a room in the church, suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

The female student’s body was found about 9 p.m. in a car near the medical towers, Lt. Wahlin said. The man and the student had “a previous relationship,” Wahlin said.

The victim’s identity has not been released.

Rowland had been seen fleeing the Medical Towers, a dorm near the university’s northeastern edge, around the time of the shooting, authorities said. Students were told to avoid the area until further notice.

Rowland, a registered sex offender, wasn’t a student there, police said.

Campus officials had tweeted a description and image of the suspect and said anyone with information should notify police.

Rowland, a resident of Salt Lake City, was convicted of attempted forcible sex abuse and enticing a minor over the internet in 2004, court records show.

University officials lifted a two-hour-long lockdown just before midnight and canceled classes today.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert shared his condolences in the wake of the shooting.

“My heart goes out to all who have been dealing with the tragic #UofUShooting tonight,” Herbert tweeted Tuesday morning. “If anyone has information about the suspect identified by the U of U police in tonight’s shooting, please contact police immediately.”

Monday’s tragedy was the second deadly shooting at the university since last year. Last month, an ex-convict pleaded guilty to killing a University of Utah student from China using a gun stolen after another slaying. Austin Boutain, 24, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

He and his wife were charged with hatching a carjacking plot that led to the October 2017 death of Chenwei Guo, whose parents live in Beijing and were devastated over the death of their only son at age 23.

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