Investigation reveals missed clues earlier than Utah pupil killed

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An investigation into the demise of a College of Utah pupil shot by a person she briefly dated discovered her associates had reported his controlling habits and curiosity in getting her a gun practically a month earlier than the capturing, however that warning by no means made it to police.

The probe launched Wednesday additionally reveals that college detectives trying right into a subsequent harassment report from 21-year-old pupil Lauren McCluskey didn’t uncover 37-year-old Melvin Rowland was a intercourse offender who had been launched from jail months earlier than.

College President Ruth Watkins mentioned the establishment is “performing on each single suggestion” within the report by college and state officers. However she maintained that nothing within the assessment indicated McCluskey’s demise may have been prevented.

“As a substitute, the report gives weaknesses, identifies points and offers us with a street map for strengthening safety on our campus,” she mentioned. She denounced Rowland as a “manipulative, evil legal” who “exploited vulnerabilities” within the system.

The probe additionally reveals campus police are overtaxed and wish extra coaching in dealing with home violence instances.

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McCluskey, a monitor athlete and communications main, was fatally shot by Rowland on Oct. 22, after she dumped him as a result of he had been mendacity about his id, legal historical past and age. Rowland killed himself as police closed in.

Greater than per week earlier than her demise, McCluskey had reported to police that her ex-boyfriend was harassing her and demanding cash in alternate for not posting compromising pictures of her on-line. Police investigated, however they by no means checked him towards state data the place they might have found he was a parolee.

Working these checks wasn’t required or sometimes achieved below college police coverage, one thing the establishment is now altering. Even when that they had found he was an ex-convict, it’s not clear whether or not the harassment criticism would have been sufficient to ship him again to jail as a result of he had seemed to be assembly the situations of his parole in any other case, Utah Public Security Commissioner Jess Anderson mentioned.

Nonetheless, McCluskey’s associates had lengthy been involved concerning the relationship. In late September, they instructed a residence-hall official that she was in “an unhealthy relationship with an older man who was controlling her,” the report states. He’d additionally mentioned he wished to deliver a gun on campus to present to McCluskey, which may have been a violation of his parole if authorities had found he was an ex-convict.

Bureaucratic snafus stored housing officers from submitting the report, and anxious about overstepping into McCluskey’s personal life they in the end determined to observe the scenario. The college ought to make it easier to make such reviews and contain sufferer advocates sooner, mentioned John Nielsen, a former commissioner for public security.

Likewise, the detective investigating McCluskey’s harassment criticism didn’t have the coaching or expertise to acknowledge the indicators of home violence in her relationship, the report discovered. The college plans to do extra coaching, in addition to request funding for 5 extra officers to ease the workload on the division.

The case additionally exposes weaknesses within the state’s parole system, Anderson mentioned. Rowland, for instance, was within the system below a state identification quantity reasonably than his driver’s license, so when college police ran his license it didn’t flag his legal historical past. He had additionally been utilizing aliases to bypass guidelines towards him being on social media, unbeknownst to the state.

After a separate assessment ordered by the governor, Anderson is recommending updating and simplifying the techniques designed to trace ex-convicts and alert brokers when one crosses police radar.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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