Freshman student dies of self-inflicted gun shot wound

Jennifer Curington

University Villas resident Elizabeth Volker died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound Monday evening, The Department of Public Safety confirmed yesterday.

Volker was a freshman pre-communications major at Georgia Southern University, according to an email from Administrative Director of Marketing and Communications Christian Flathman.

Volker worked in the equipment room and was one of 15 football managers, Associate Athletics Director Keith Roughton said.

An autopsy was conducted Tuesday to determine the cause of death. The report was not available at press time.

University Police were contacted by University Housing officials who discovered the body of a GSU student on Monday evening at University Villas, an apartment-style community on campus, according to a Campus Alert.

The time that had passed since anyone had seen or spoken with the student has not yet been released.

“Following the preliminary investigation, there are no signs of forced entry or a violent crime taking place that anyone needs to worry about,” Flathman said.

“Georgia Southern is a close community, and we are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of one of our students. On behalf of everyone at Georgia Southern, our hearts and prayers are with the student’s parents, family and friends,” President Brooks Keel said in a news release.

Caleb Rogers, sophomore public relations major, and Marissa Lovins, sophomore pre-nursing major, organized a prayer vigil for student and faculty Tuesday, which was held on the grass around the Rotunda at noon and was open to students and faculty.

Rogers and Lovins did not know Volker but felt that respect should be shown in some way.

“We wanted to do something. It started when I texted a few friends, and it got a lot bigger than I thought it would,” Rogers said. “It makes this campus feel much more like a community,”

“I don’t think we realized how many people would show up,” Lovins said. “I feel like we are closer as a student body.”

Students appreciated the chance to do something for the family.

“It’s a great way to take some time out of the day to pay respects,” Patrick McKibben, freshman biology major, said.

Many students were proud of the students who came out to show their support, Lacey Hall, sophomore communication arts major, said.

“It makes me proud to be an eagle,” Eden Smith, junior public relations major, said.

“It’s a nice way to show our support for the family,” Emily Rountree, freshman psychology major, said.

University Police is continuing its investigation.

Volker’s community leader was not allowed to comment, Eric Petersen, University Villas housing director, said.

Chris MacDonald, director of housing, declined to comment.

Christian Flathman declined to comment on any further details beyond the medical release.

As of press time, no funeral plans have been released.