At Least 2 Dead in Possible Murder Suicide at University of Washington
SEATTLE – A man and a woman were shot to death Monday morning inside the University of Washington's architecture building in an apparent murder-suicide, university police said
University Assistant Police Chief Ray Wittmier said the female victim, a 25-year-old university employee, had a restraining order against the man who apparently shot her and then took his own life.
He said it was "almost certainly" a murder-suicide.
Colleagues of the woman also said she had told them she was being harassed by a former boyfriend and that she had asked friends to watch out for him. It was not immediately known if the dead man was the boyfriend.
Wittmier said officers who responded at about 9:30 a.m. to a call of shots fired found the two people in an office on the fourth floor of Gould Hall. A handgun also was found in the room, he said, and it may have belonged to one of the dead people.
"It's quite possible that the suspect is one of the deceased," Wittmier said.
He said about six shots were fired and that the only people apparently involved in the shootings were the woman and the man, in his 40s. There were no eyewitnesses, he said.
Lance Nguyen, a researcher at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Research, which has offices on the building's fourth floor, said he was a co-worker of the woman and that she had said she was worried about her former boyfriend.
In addition to the restraining order, Nguyen said the woman, a research specialist, changed her telephone number and e-mailed a photo of the man to friends, asking them to watch out for him.
"She said it's a psycho from her past," Nguyen said.
Wittmier said campus police were not aware of the restraining order against the man. He said he was not aware that the man had permission to carry a handgun at the school. Firearms are banned on the UW campus.
Gould Hall, built in 1972, is the university's architecture building. It houses three departmental offices, a dean's office, a library, shop, lab, computer facilities and classrooms, according to the university's Web site.
Student Meghan Pinch, 27, said she was in a first-floor classroom when she heard several loud bangs. Pinch said she didn't think they were gunshots at first, since there frequently were construction noises from the building's shop.
"No one wanted to really think it was real," Pinch said. Police told students to evacuate the building. Pinch was waiting outside, trying to find out if anyone she knew was involved in the shooting.
"We all are pretty close in this building," Pinch said.
The building, in an urban neighborhood on the edge of the university campus, was closed for the day with classes rescheduled elsewhere on campus.
In June 2000, a UW resident physician killed himself after fatally shooting his supervisor in the medical school complex, a few blocks away from Gould Hall. Police said Dr. Jian Chen gunned down his supervisor, Dr. Rodger Haggitt, in Haggitt's office after Chen was told his residency contract would not be renewed.