UAF sees third shooting death in two years

By Sam Allen


The death of sophomore petroleum engineering student, Scott Austin, 48, last Thursday, marks the third death at UAF in less than 24 months. All three deaths involved guns.


One student found blood on his car that was parking in the Reichardt parking lot. Photo courtesy of a student contributor.

UAF biology student Jason Bourne, 26, shot himself behind the Cutler 600 block on the ski trails this April. Tschon (Sean) Ombadykow, 63, former UAF facilities worker, shot himself on the 5th floor of the Rasmuson library two years ago.

Bourne and Ombadykow’s deaths were determined to be suicides. Austin’s death is unclear. A cause of death has not been determined yet, investigators are awaiting results from the state medical examiner’s office in Anchorage.

“There’s no confirmation that it’s accidental or self-inflicted intentionally,” Keith Mallard, UAF Police Chief, said to the News-Miner.

No foul play was involved according to an email Chancellor Brian Rogers sent out to students on Friday.

Austin, an Air Force veteran, originally from Greece, NY, was found by a student on her way to class in the Reichart Building parking lot near Cutler student housing. He was lying by his vehicle, dead from a gun shot wound to the head, his .308 rifle nearby when police found him at 8:09 a.m. Thursday. Austin had a 9 a.m. class in Reichart that morning according to UAF police.

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5 Responses

  1. Eli Barry-Garland says:

    I feel that the headline is misleading. It would be more accurate, and less alarming, to say that this is the third gun death on campus, since the words “shooting death” clearly imply an act of violence against another person. In addition, I wonder at the wisdom and necessity of using the photo of the blood. Overall I don’t feel like this was handled as sensitively as it could have been.

  2. Carrie McGee says:

    I completely agree with Eli Barry-Garland.

  3. Britta says:

    If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts the CARELINE crisis hotline is available 24/7 through these phone numbers; (907) 452-HELP (4357)
    1-877-266-HELP (4357).

    The UAF Student Health and Counseling Center offers 6 free counseling sessions to students and can be contacted at (907) 474-7043.

  4. Koya Olsen says:

    I feel that this was a very inconsiderate article. Not all of the information is true, Scott was from Greece, New York not Greece the country. Also the photo that was published with this story is very rude and unnecessary. I feel this article is very disrespectful to our fellow student, Scott Austin. Very disappointed Sun Star!

  5. Sheila Teal says:

    The image used in this article was absolutely UNNECESSARY and quite thoughtless. I do not think Scott’s family, friends, classmates, instructors, etc. want or need to see a picture of his blood. The article is also inaccurate. There is a huge difference between Greece and Greece, NY (where Scott is actually from). Sensitivity is paramount to good journalism, not just using a shock-effect to get people to read your paper. Please remove this photo immediately, and correct the text in the article.

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