She Was on the Phone With Mom, Then, 'No, No, No!'

Police say University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey was killed by an ex-boyfriend
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2018 2:47 PM CDT

(Newser) – The University of Utah is mourning the death of a student-athlete who police say was shot to death by an ex-boyfriend—one she had recently filed a police report about. One of the most wrenching details of the case is that 21-year-old Lauren McCluskey had been on the phone with her mother when the attack apparently began. Details and developments in the Monday night shooting:

  • The call: McCluskey's mother, Jill, alerted campus police about 8:30pm because she had been on the phone with Lauren when things ended abruptly. “Suddenly, I heard her yell, ‘No, no, no!’ I thought she might have been in a car accident," she says, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. "That was the last I heard from her.” Jill McCluskey stayed on the line, and after "a few minutes, a young woman picked up the phone and said all of Lauren’s things were on the ground."
  • The suspect: After also receiving reports of gunshots outside a dorm, police found McCluskey dead in a car. Later, officers spotted and chased 37-year-old Melvin Rowland, who broke into an off-campus church and fatally shot himself, per ABC News. Police say that Rowland shot McCluskey; authorities say they had recently dated for about a month before McCluskey ended things.

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  • Disturbing background: McCluskey's mother says her daughter ended the relationship after learning that Rowland had lied about his name, his age, and his background, reports KSL. She also learned that he was convicted of attempted forcible sex abuse and enticing a minor over the internet in 2004, and had served time in prison for those crimes.
  • Complaints: Campus police chief Dale Brophy says McCluskey filed a police report about Rowland about a week ago, reports Cox Media Group. Details were not released, but McCluskey sought police help in getting her car back from Rowland on Oct. 10, and "complained to University of Utah police that she was being harassed," says a family statement.
  • Student-athlete: McCluskey ran track and had a 3.75 GPA, reports ESPN. She was supposed to graduate in May with a major in communications. "Her family is understandably in shock at this news about their daughter," says university president Ruth Watkins. "We have and continue to offer our full support to them at this terrible time."
(Read more University of Utah stories.)

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