Ohio State student and concealed-carry advocate Tarak Andrew Underiner was found dead from gunshot wounds at a residence on Northwood Ave. early Thursday morning. This is the city’s first homicide of 2017.
The police report identified Underiner as 20 years old and a current OSU student. OSU’s directory lists Underiner as a marketing and Spanish double major; in a previous Lantern article he identified himself as a third-year in marketing and the treasurer for Buckeyes for Concealed Carry.
Columbus police officers were called to the scene on a report of a shooting inside the residence at 12:30 a.m. Underiner was found unresponsive and pronounced dead on the scene at 12:41 a.m.
“Investigators do not believe this incident was random in nature nor has any connection to the University,” the report states.
The incident did not elicit a Buckeye Alert text message being sent to students. Dan Hedman, spokesman for OSU’s Office of Administration and Planning, said the incident did not call for the system to be used.
“This incident is sad and unfortunate and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Tarak Underiner during this extremely difficult time,” Hedman said in an email. “Whether or not to issue a Buckeye Alert is based on information available at the time and takes into consideration multiple factors, including location and whether it is deemed there is an imminent threat to the campus community.”
In a statement on the Facebook page for Ohio Students for Concealed Carry, the state-level organization that OSU’s Buckeyes for Concealed Carry falls under, OSCC director and board member Michael Newbern expressed his condolences.
“I am deeply saddened by the tragedy that occurred last night near The Ohio State University. Tarak Underiner was both a personal friend of mine and a bright young man with a promising future ahead of him. His work as a member of Buckeyes for Concealed Carry on Campus to restore the right to self-defense on Ohio’s college campuses put him in an elite class obtained by very few others in our movement,” Newbern said.
Underiner recently testified at the Ohio Statehouse in favor of expanding concealed carry onto public college campuses. In interviews with The Lantern and Lantern TV, Underiner said the legislation was important for self defense, saying he’d feel safe if he were able to walk to and from campus carrying a firearm.
“It’s not really aimed at stopping mass shooter events,” Underiner said, instead listing defense against violent crime, such as armed robbery or assault, as more realistic. “If you have a late night at the library and … you live in dangerous parts of town, or are out late, being able to have, at least the option to carry a concealed weapon is an important right for Ohio State students.”
The legislation was passed, although OSU officials have said they do not plan on taking up the optional provisions.
Newbern called any speculation on the circumstances surrounding Underiner’s death “unwarranted,” and urged anyone with relevant information to contact University Police or the Columbus Division of Police.