Murder-Suicide At University Of Washington

Tuesday, April 3rd 2007, 7:26 am
By: News On 6

SEATTLE (AP) _ In the last weeks of her life, Rebecca Griego was taking drastic steps to avoid an ex-boyfriend whose violence and threats had left her visibly shaken.

She changed her cell phone number. She moved. And early last month, Griego sought a restraining order, posting Jonathan Rowan's picture around her office so co-workers could serve him with the papers if he showed up.

``He has threatened to hurt me again,'' Griego, 26, wrote in court papers on March 6, saying that Rowan had warned her ``to look over my shoulder because I would see him again.''

On Monday, colleagues identified Griego as the victim of an apparent murder-suicide in her University of Washington office. Officials said her assailant was an ex-boyfriend, in his 40s, who was the subject of a restraining order from the young university staffer.

``She was left helpless and very frustrated, because nobody would intervene until something happened,'' said Jim DeLisle, Griego's boss at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies. ``She did everything that a person in her situation could have done, other than leaving town.''

University Assistant Police Chief Ray Wittmier said officers who responded at about 9:30 a.m. Monday to a call of shots fired found the two people in an office on the fourth floor of Gould Hall, the university's architecture building.

Wittmier said about six shots were fired, and a handgun was found in the room. There no eyewitnesses, and no one else was harmed in the shooting, he said.

Lance Nguyen, 28, a student researcher who worked with Griego, said she had become increasingly worried about her former boyfriend in recent weeks. Griego, a University of Washington graduate, worked as the center's administrator.

``She freaked out,'' Nguyen said. ``She said this guy had threatened to harm her and her family.''

Court records show Griego was granted a temporary restraining order on March 6 after she said Rowan had threatened her, her sister and the two women's dogs.

In applying for the order, she wrote that on Jan. 5, Rowan threw glass candlestick holders at her in a drunken rage, then tackled and punched her. The two were living together at the time.

``I forgave him because he was drunk but now I see that was wrong and he has threatened to hurt me again,'' she wrote.

Griego wrote that in February, Rowan called her and threatened suicide, ``because he couldn't see me. I never called him back.''

The order required Rowan to stay 500 feet from Griego, her residence, workplace and dog.

Wittmier said he didn't believe campus police were aware of the restraining order against Rowan. He also said Rowan likely did not have permission to carry a handgun on campus.

University spokesman Bob Roseth said police files showed Griego had received phone threats against her life from the former boyfriend at least twice at work. But she apparently chose not to press charges against him, Roseth said.

``In terms of police action, there wasn't much the police could have done to prevent it,'' Roseth said. ``Whether there are other things she could have done is a matter of conjecture.''

Student Meghan Pinch, 27, was in a first-floor classroom when she heard several loud bangs. She said that she didn't think they were gunshots at first until she was told to evacuate.

``No one wanted to really think it was real,'' Pinch said.