Picture courtesy of University of Utah athletics

McCluskey was shot and killed on campus on Oct. 23 by her ex-boyfriend Melvin Rowland, who had been harrassing McCluskey since their breakup.

By Emily Caron
December 26, 2018

Lauren McCluskey, a 21-year-old University of Utah senior and track athlete, was killed in an on-campus shooting outside of a dormitory on October 23. The shooter was 37-year-old Melvin Rowland, a convicted sex offender who had been harassing McCluskey.

McCluskey feared that police at the University of Utah were not doing enough to stop the harrassment, according to a 911 call that she placed on Oct. 19– just four days before her death– that was obtained by CNN.

The senior was involved in a brief relationship with Rowland which ended on Oct. 9, before the harrassment started. Over the next two weeks, McCluskey called campus police multiple times to report harassing messages as well as an attempted extortion. When she did not hear back in a timely manner, McCluskey called Salt Lake City Police.

"I'm worried because I've been working with the campus police at the U, and last Saturday I reported and I haven't gotten an update," McCluskey told the dispatcher on Oct. 19."They haven't updated or done anything."

Audio from McCluskey's 911 calls to Salt Lake City Police show that she was increasingly frustrated by the university investigation, which she felt was moving too slowly. She first called Salt Lake City Police on October 13 to say that she had been blackmailed for money but was sent back to the University police. She called Salt Lake City Police again a week later to follow up but was again referred to her school's police by the dispatcher as the University had jurisdiction.

The Oct. 19 call and one other from McCluskey were obtained by CNN just days after the Utah Department of Public Safety released a review of what could have been done differently to prevent her death. The review found that University police officers did not know how to look up criminal background or parole information, CNN affiliate KUTV reported.

Rowland was a convicted sex offender who had spent more than a decade in prison. The review found that he had been released on parole three separate times and had violated his parole and returned to prison twice.

Rowland killed himself after killing McCluskey.

The University said that these issues were not related to any individual wrongdoing or mistakes.

"The review team's report identified gaps in training, awareness and enforcement of certain policies rather than lapses in individual performance," the university said.

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