A makeshift memorial for Hilinski has sprouted near Martin Stadium, and police have begun interviewing friends and people who knew him to try to determine why the 21-year-old quarterback took his own life.
PULLMAN — Police on Wednesday were interviewing Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski’s friends and people who knew him to try to learn why he apparently took his life.
Police Chief Gary Jenkins said officers have no apparent motive for the death of the 21-year-old athlete, who was found dead in his Pullman, Washington, apartment on Tuesday along with a rifle and a suicide note.
Warning signs of suicideIf you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or have concerns about someone else who may be, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You will be routed to a local crisis center where professionals can talk you through a risk assessment and provide resources in your community. The more of the signs below that a person shows, the greater the risk of suicide.
- Talking about wanting to die
- Looking for a way to kill oneself
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Displaying extreme mood swings
“The missing piece here is why,” Jenkins said. “Most of our investigation will be conducting interviews.”
Jenkins declined to reveal the contents of the suicide note.
Hilinski’s family in California issued a statement saying they were in “complete shock and disarray” over his death.
“Tyler was the kid that put a smile on everybody’s face when they were down, especially his family,” the statement said. “We will mourn the loss of Tyler for some time but celebrate the way he lived his life every day.”
A makeshift memorial for Hilinski has sprouted near Martin Stadium, next to a bronze statue of the team’s cougar mascot. The memorial included flowers and balloons. According to The Daily Evergreen, WSU’s student publication, the Cougar Marching Band will host a memorial there at 3:15 Wednesday afternoon.
Social media was also filled with comments about Hilinski. Former Washington State quarterback Ryan Leaf tweeted that he could not stop crying when he heard the news.
“Every human life is precious,” Leaf said, adding he wished he could have told Hilinski: “I’m just like you & I’ve been here & there is hope.”
Hilinski backed up Luke Falk this season and was the presumptive starter heading into his junior year.
He appeared in eight games during his sophomore season, throwing for 1,176 yards and seven touchdowns. The most memorable outing of his career came in the second week of the season, when he came off the bench to rally Washington State from a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Boise State in triple overtime. Hilinski was carried off the field after the victory.
His only start came in a loss to Michigan State in the Holiday Bowl in December, the final game of the season for the Cougars.
Hilinski was from Claremont, California, and went to high school in nearby Upland. He arrived on campus in 2015 and redshirted before appearing in four games in 2016.