NBA player among those honoring slain University of Utah athlete


The shocking murder of University of Utah track and field athlete Lauren McCluskey has prompted an outpouring of support beyond the school’s Salt Lake City campus.

Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell honored McCluskey — who was killed on campus Monday night — by writing her name on his sneakers for Wednesday’s game.

“This one really hit home to me,” Mitchell told NBA TV. “I have a little sister, you know. In today’s world, you know, women have to be protected more.”

“She was defenseless — couldn’t do anything about it,” he said of McCluskey. “And for a man to do that, that’s terrible. For me, I just wanted to be able to dedicate this game to her and her family.”

When the University of Utah football team plays UCLA in Los Angeles Friday, the Utah players will have a decal for their slain classmate on their helmets.

UCLA is expected to hold a moment of silence before the game.

And at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, student athletes wore red in McCluskey’s memory.

The tragedy unfolded Monday when McCluskey, a 21-year-old senior and communication major, was killed allegedly by ex-boyfriend Melvin Rowland, according to authorities. Rowland later killed himself, authorities said.

McCluskey had dated Rowland, 37, who was not a student, for about one month, said McCluskey’s mother, Jill McCluskey.

Rowland, a registered sex offender, had allegedly lied about his name, age and criminal history. When her daughter learned about his criminal history, she ended the relationship on Oct. 9, Jill McCluskey said.

Lauren McCluskey also “complained to University of Utah police that she was being harassed,” according to her mother.

“We did have a case where there was a police report filed on the 12th and the 13th,” University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brophy told reporters on Tuesday. “It was assigned to a detective. The detective had been in contact with Ms. McCluskey, and they were working on the case with our suspect at that time.”

Lauren McCluskey, who was found dead in her car Monday night, was on the phone with her mother just before the shooting, Jill McCluskey said.

“I heard her yell, ‘No, no, no!’ I thought she might have been in a car accident,” Jill McCluskey said. “That was the last I heard from her.”

Rowland was seen fleeing around the time of the shooting, authorities said. He led police on a chase and was later found “dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound” at a local church, authorities said.

ABC News’ Sabina Ghebremedhin contributed to this report.

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