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University of Utah mourns student killed on campus; classes canceled Tuesday

Posted at 6:36 AM, Oct 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-23 15:51:10-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah is mourning the death of a woman shot and killed outside of student housing Monday night.

Lauren McCluskey, a senior majoring in communication and a standout on the track team, was shot and killed by a man with whom she had a previous relationship. Police said the suspected gunman took his own life inside a church in downtown Salt Lake City.

McCluskey’s familyissued a statement Tuesday, saying the gunman had lied to their daughter about his age and criminal history and that she ended the relationship earlier this month after finding out the truth.

Classes at the University of Utah are canceled Tuesday to allow the community to mourn. While classes are canceled, the campus remains open and the Counseling Center and other support resources are in place to assist students.

The Hinckley Institute of Politics stated Tuesday’s forum with Russian Ambassador Anatoly I. Antonov has been canceled in light of the tragedy.

Athletic Director Mark Harlan said the next scheduled athletic event is Wednesday night’s volleyball game vs Washington State, and as of Tuesday morning they expected that match to go ahead as planned.

A vigil for McCluskey is scheduled for Wednesday at 5 p.m. on the steps of the Park Building.

President Ruth K. Watkins said she will attend the vigil, and she expressed her grief Tuesday in a letter.

“As a campus community, we share grief over this tragic loss of life,” Watkins stated. “Our deepest sympathy is extended to Lauren’s family and friends.”

McCluskey’s track coach said everyone who knows Lauren is devastated by this tragedy.

“Everyone associated with our program is devastated by the loss of Lauren,” coach Kyle Kepler said. “There are no words to express the emotions and grief we are experiencing right now. Lauren was a wonderful person, an excellent student and a dedicated member of our track and field team. She showed a relentless drive to improve every day over the last three and a half years and was always kind and supportive of her teammates. Those are just some of the reasons why her loss has hit us so hard.”

U of U Athletic Director Mark Harlan also issued a statement on McCluskey’s death.

“Last night, the University of Utah lost one of our own. Senior track standout Lauren McCluskey was tragically killed in a senseless act. This news has shaken not only myself but our entire University of Utah athletics family to its core. We have university counselors and psychologists on standby to support Lauren’s teammates, coaches and friends. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and all of those dear to her.”

The Pac-12 Conference also issued a statement mourning McCluskey, saying in part she was an “accomplished and exceptional young woman and student athlete.”

The full statement is included in the tweet embedded below: