Salt Lake City, UT

My Grandson Heard Shots Fired on the U Campus

S. F. Mori

He thought it was firecrackers

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University of Utah(Image in the public domain)

My grandson was in his dorm room on the campus of the University of Utah when he heard the gun shots that killed Lauren McCluskey in a parking lot. McCluskey was a twenty-one year old senior at the university when she was shot and killed outside a residence hall on the campus. She was a track star at the U and was from Washington state. A man she had dated briefly had murdered her on October 22, 2018.

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University of Utah Sign(Image in the public domain)

My grandson who is now entering his senior year at the University of Utah was a freshman at the U in the fall of 2018. He lived in one of the residence halls adjacent to the parking lot where McCluskey was killed. He heard the shots that were fired before the university coed died. The window in his room did not face the parking lot, but he heard the some very loud bangs. He and his roommate thought that it was someone lighting firecrackers so they were not that concerned. They did not expect that anyone would be shooting a gun on the campus.
Then there was an alert sent out which they received on their phones. It was from the university telling all students that there had been a shooting on campus. The students were requested to shelter in place and not leave their residences. My grandson then realized that the loud bangs they heard were indeed gunshots instead of firecrackers.
There were ambulances and police cars which arrived in the parking lot next to the residence halls. All the students stayed inside the buildings, but they could see some of the commotion outside and hear the noise.

McCluskey had reportedly met a man in September 2018. He was a bouncer working at a bar. They started having a relationship. She discovered about a month later that he had lied to her about his name and age. He was much older than he said he was, and he was a registered sex offender who had been in prison. She tried to break off the relationship when he admitted that those things were true.

Because of various actions of the man, the campus police were notified and asked to help protect McCluskey. They seemed to not take it seriously.

The man waited for McCluskey in the parking lot outside her dorm. She was returning from a class and was talking to her mother on the phone when he confronted her. She dropped her phone. McCluskey's father called the campus police to report that his daughter might be in danger. The man apparently shot and killed her before police arrived. Her body was found in a car. He was discovered by the police the next day. The police followed him to a church where he killed himself.

The University of Utah was sued by the parents and settled for around $13 million. A foundation has been set up in Lauren McCluskey's name, and a center at the university also bears her name. It is the McCluskey Center for Violence Prevention.

[Another University of Utah female student was murdered in July 2019. It did not occur on campus as had the McCluskey killing.]

My grandson returned to the University of Utah for his sophomore year of college. Then the COVID pandemic forced him to do online school for a year so he stayed home. He returned to the University this month. He is not living on campus.
His parents were concerned, as all parents were, after the shooting about the safety of the University of Utah campus even for male students.

Although violence against women has been the main issue with the McCluskey case, changes have taken place at the University of Utah so hopefully all students will be safer. University campuses should not be places where violence and murder occur.

[Disclaimer: This may be old news to you, but some people may not be aware. The follow up is that a center was named for the victim and a foundation has been established in her name. The problems she faced are ongoing issues.]

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I am a retired President/CEO of civil rights organizations. I have been a Mayor and California State Assemblyman as well as a College Instructor of Economics. I have also been an entrepreneur and international business consultant. I will be sharing articles mostly about life, politics, racism, travel, health, and relationships.

Salt Lake City, UT
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