Suspect in fatal University of Utah shooting found dead after manhunt

Posted on: October 23rd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(SALT LAKE CITY) — 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 body of the female victim was reportedly discovered in a parked vehicle on campus, witnesses told police, who haven’t officially announced a motive for the killing. Rowland may have been an ex-boyfriend, authorities 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 and urged everyone to “follow the instructions that come thru.”

“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. Student Austin Boutain, 24, was arrested in October 2017 after he fatally shot ChenWei Guo, a 23-year-old computer science major.

Boutain plead guilty last month to aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder and aggravated kidnapping, according to Salt Lake Tribune. He agreed to be sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison.

ABC News’ Marilyn Heck contributed to this report.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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