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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Gonzaga mourns student who died after accidentally shooting himself

Oct. 19, 2022 Updated Wed., Oct. 19, 2022 at 9:38 p.m.

The front of the administration building hall at Gonzaga University Friday, August 31, 2018. Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW  (JESSE TINSLEY)
The front of the administration building hall at Gonzaga University Friday, August 31, 2018. Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (JESSE TINSLEY)

A 24-year-old Gonzaga University student died after accidentally shooting himself in the head early Saturday morning at a campus apartment, according to an email from the university.

Colton L. Marcantel, 24, a senior business administration major with a concentration in finance, died Tuesday afternoon from the gunshot wound, according to an email from Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh and Vice Provost for Student Affairs Kent Porterfield to students, faculty and staff.

The email said witnesses say the shooting was accidental, but the investigation is ongoing.

“We wish to offer our deepest condolences to Colton’s family, friends, and loved ones,” the email read.

Spokane police spokesman Cpl. Nick Briggs wrote in a text message that police are investigating, and that the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s findings will help in determining whether the shooting was accidental.

The Gonzaga email said Marcantel was “a longtime Texan” survived by his mother and father, brother, aunt and grandmother. It said Marcantel enjoyed hunting, fishing and the outdoors.

“He embraced laughter and friendship, and his friends and family remember him as one who lived boldly, loved deeply, and saw the best in everyone,” the email said. “Colton was regularly on the Dean’s and President’s Lists and active in the Investment Club and intramural activities.”

According to court documents, police responded to the Corkery Apartments, 601 E. Sharp Ave., around 4:15 a.m. Saturday for a report of a person who had shot himself. Officers located Marcantel inside one of the apartment units with an apparent gunshot wound to the head. He was taken to the hospital.

Witnesses told police people were drinking alcohol at the apartment, which is rented by Marcantel and another person. Witnesses said Marcantel owns a firearm and had it in his hands when they were drinking. They said it was a semiautomatic pistol.

Marcantel was “manipulating the firearm and ejecting live rounds of ammunition, either by racking the slide or pushing them out of the magazine,” court records said.

Marcantel held the gun near his head at one point and discharged a round, striking him in the head, witnesses said. Marcantel fell and witnesses called 911.

Several neighbors told police they awoke to noises and hearing people talk about a shooting, documents said.

A prayer service of remembrance was held Wednesday at the school, according to the email.

Gonzaga students said Wednesday they were saddened by the loss of their fellow student.

“As a community, it’s kind of shocking to hear, just because Gonzaga is such a tight-knit community,” said Olivia Normand, a student who lives in the building where Marcantel lived.

She said she did not know Marcantel but saw him on campus. Normand said she hears about incidents like this on the news, but she did not think it would happen at her school.

“We woke up and saw the police cars, like, right outside our building and didn’t know what was going on,” Normand said of the early morning scene Saturday.

Jason Lembo, another student, said the shooting was tragic.

“I know it’s definitely sad what happened and everyone at school is upset about it,” he said.

Jake Lillie said he talked about the shooting with friends, and their parents texted and spoke with them to make sure they were OK.

“I didn’t know Colton, but, you know, my best goes out to his family through this tough time,” Lillie said. “I hope that his friends are OK and getting the help they need to.”

The Gonzaga email encouraged those who need support to reach out.

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