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UWPD Continues Investigation into Halloween Altercation; Support Offered in Other, Fatal Assault

November 3, 2014

The University of Wyoming Police Department continues to investigate an altercation at an off-campus residence that resulted in serious injury to a UW student early Saturday. That student’s condition has improved, although he remains in intensive care at a Colorado hospital.

Meanwhile, the UW community is grieving the death of student Joseph McGowan, 21, following an unrelated incident Halloween night in which police say he tried to break up a fight at a private party in the 700 block of North Seventh Street. A suspect is in custody and faces a charge of second-degree murder filed by Albany County authorities.

Alcohol was a factor in both off-campus incidents, according to police reports.

“These incidents have shocked and saddened all of us, and our thoughts and prayers remain with the families who are suffering, along with those who were injured,” UW President Dick McGinity says. “The university will do everything it can to provide support and help for those affected.”

McGowan, of Lander, died shortly after noon Saturday at a Colorado hospital, where he was taken by air ambulance after the Laramie Police Department responded to the private residence on Seventh Street. UW officials will be in contact with the family, and with students, faculty and staff members in the Department of Art, where he had been studying. UW Counseling Center services have been made available for students, faculty and staff.

The person charged in connection with McGowan’s death is not a UW student. The LPD is in charge of that investigation, and the UWPD is communicating with the LPD regarding the case.

Meanwhile, the UWPD is handling the investigation into the second assault, which was reported shortly after the first incident in the 1100 block of Flint Street.

Luke McConville, 20, a UW student from Casper, remains in a Denver-area hospital as a result of serious head injuries sustained in that incident. UW Police Chief Mike Samp says McConville’s condition has improved -- he was reported to be conscious and communicating on Sunday -- although his injuries are “very serious.” UW officials are in contact with his family.

Samp says the investigation is progressing into the incident, an altercation involving a number of people. Three other UW students who suffered injuries were treated and released at Ivinson Memorial Hospital. 

Because the case is still under investigation, few details are being disclosed, but Samp says a number of individuals have been interviewed, and important information has been gathered. No arrests have been made.

The UWPD is seeking a suspect in the assault, a male described as 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10, possibly Hispanic, who wore a black jacket with red trim. Also sought are two white males who wore tie-dye shirts, along with a possible witness described as a white female who wore a white and black cocktail-type dress. Witnesses or anyone with information about the incident are encouraged to call the UWPD at 766-5179. Anonymous tips can be sent to text keyword “UWYO” at 847411 or Tip411.

The university also is offering UW Counseling Center services to everyone affected by the off-campus incidents. To receive counseling assistance, call 766-2187 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.) or 766-8989 after hours. Initial walk-in sessions also are available at Knight Hall Room 341.

The UW Counseling Center and its AWARE Program (Alcohol Wellness Alternatives, Research and Education) provide health promotion and mental health services to UW students that nurture healthy choices, emotional growth, adaptive coping skills, and expanded understanding of self and relationships with others. 

Specifically, the AWARE program strives to utilize best practices in providing drug and alcohol education and prevention programming for UW and the community. The AWARE program promotes a standard of wellness in regard to healthy choices surrounding alcohol use and the prevention of illicit drug use by college students.

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