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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Oct. 23, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — University of Utah officials gave the “all clear” at about 2 a.m. Tuesday, stating that the suspect in the fatal shooting on campus Monday night was no longer a threat.
The announcement came shortly after Salt Lake City police officers converged on Trinity A.M.E. Church, 239 E. 600 South, where they later confirmed that Melvin Rowland, the suspect in the fatal shooting, had died of a self-inflicted gunshot.
Rowland’s death brought an end to an intense manhunt that began after he allegedly shot and killed a female U of U student shortly before 9 p.m. Monday.
Police had responded to reports of shots fired on campus and began searching the north parking lot, where an officer found the victim, deceased, in a vehicle. She had been shot multiple times, police said.
University officials sent out several notices throughout the night, declaring a lockdown of the campus and urging students to shelter in place and keep doors locked for their safety, while police searched the entire campus with canines, fearing that the shooter was still in the area.
Police later identified the suspect as Melvin Rowland, a registered sex offender, who they say had a relationship with the victim.
According to Utah court documents, Rowland was found guilty in March 2004 of attempted forcible sex abuse which occurred September 15, 2003. That charge was amended from a first-degree felony to a third-degree felony. He also was found guilty of enticing a minor over the Internet, a second-degree felony.
The university lifted the secure-in-place order a little before midnight, after police determined that Rowland had fled the area in a vehicle.
They were able to track him to the vicinity of the church, where he had forced his way inside through the back door, according to a U of U Police spokesman. He was found deceased inside of the main chapel, just beyond the front doors.
Officials have not identified the female student who was killed; however, the university posted a list of contacts for support services on the highalert website for students and staff members who may have been affected by Monday night’s tragedy.
Gephardt Daily will continue to update this story as more information is released.