Coaches, friends and teammates were having a difficult time Tuesday understanding the death of former Eastern Washington University star defensive tackle Craig Steinmetzer, who apparently committed suicide in his Streeter Hall dorm room early Saturday.
“We were all pretty much in shock Saturday,” said EWU head coach Mike Kramer, who worked out Friday with Steinmetzer, 21, and had planned a bike ride with him for Sunday.
“The kid had been working out in hopes of a possibility of an NFL tryout,” Kramer added, “and had been doing really well in school and making progress toward obtaining his degree. All the signs were that he was healthy and enjoying life.”
Steinmetzer, a 6-foot-4, 268-pound senior, was a two-time first-team All-Big Sky Conference selection.
He attended a party Friday night and returned to his dorm room at about 11:30 p.m., according to Ron Sperber, EWU director of public safety.
“He went to his room, made a couple of phone calls,” Sperber said. “He left a recorded message with a person, and that was probably in the neighborhood of 12:30 a.m. And he was not found until 10:30 a.m. (Saturday) by his roommate, who did not stay at the room that night.
“It is apparent to us that it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head by a .22-caliber pistol that he had in his room.”
Spokane County coroner Dexter Amend said autopsy results will be available in the next 10 days, adding that there doesn’t appear to be evidence “beyond the fact of a self-inflicted wound.”
In 38 games at Eastern, Steinmetzer amassed 136 tackles and ranked fifth on the school’s all-time sack list with 14.
Services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday in Renton.
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