After accidentally shooting and killing his friend, the other cadet turned the gun on himself, police said.
ELLENSBURG — Two Central Washington University Army ROTC cadets were shot dead Thursday night in what Ellensburg police are calling “a tragic accident.”
About 8:50 p.m., police received a call about two gunshot victims in the 2600 block of North Ellington Street. Officers found the cadets dead, said Capt. Dan Hansberry.
After accidentally shooting and killing Michael Demchuck, 22, the other cadet turned the gun on himself, Hansberry said.
Kittitas County Coroner Nick Henderson identified the shooter as Austin McKenzie, 21.
Witnesses at the scene told police that Demchuck and McKenzie were close friends and that McKenzie responded out of being traumatized by what had happened, Hansberry said.
“We’re never going to know the state of mind that 21-year-old was in after realizing he shot his friend,” Hansberry said.
CWU officials issued a statement Friday offering their condolences. They said university staff have met with the victims’ families and fellow cadets and are providing grief support.
“Words are not enough in impossibly difficult times. But we wanted to listen to those who knew these students best, and to express our deepest regrets,” the statement said.