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A University of Utah student was shot dead Monday night outside the dorms on campus. Police later found the man they said she had a “previous relationship with” dead at Trinity AME Church in Salt Lake City, where officers had pursued him. Police said Rowland died by suicide.
Officers had been searching for Melvin Rowland, a registered sex offender, who was believed to have gotten in an argument with the woman about 9 p.m. Several students on campus reported hearing the fight and then later gunshots.
When police arrived, they found the female student’s body inside a car near the medical towers, said U. Police Lt. Brian Wahlin.
At 1:47 a.m., the University of Utah sent an alert that Rowland was no longer a threat and that all classes had been cancelled Tuesday.
Rowland, 37, was convicted of attempted forcible sex abuse and enticing a minor over the internet in 2004. He is described as a 37-year-old black male, roughly 6-foot-3-inches and 250 pounds. He was last seen wearing a gray beanie, black pants, white shoes and a white hoodie.
Wahlin would not say how many times the student was shot or if it was before she got in the car. The university asked students to shelter in place on campus while dozen of officers patrolled the area with guns and dogs.
“We’ve got the campus secure at this point in time," he told reporters shortly after 11 p.m. "We are canvassing the area and all of campus."
Students peered down on the scene from lighted dorm rooms. A few nervously walked around the chilly scene.
Tyler Olsen, an MBA student who lives in family housing near the crime scene, said: “I just don’t feel safe now.”
He lives on campus with his wife and three kids. When he got the first alert from campus police, he walked outside his dorm and 10 officers were standing there.
“I just heard all the commotion. I was terrified.”
At about 11:50 p.m., police said Rowland left campus and “is no longer a threat to campus.”
Although classes were cancelled Tuesday, U. facilities including counseling services would be open and available to students, faculty and staff.
The University of Utah was also the scene of a deadly shooting almost a year ago, when Austin Boutain fired five shots into a car killing 23-year-old ChenWei Guo, a computer science major from China. Boutain pleaded guilty in September.
That shooting occurred maybe a mile southeast of Monday’s scene.
Rowland, who was released from prison in 2013, and most recently listed his address as the Rio Grande area.
University of Utah police ask anyone with information about the shooting to call 801-585-2677.