Two women who were killed Thursday night in a widely reported shooting outside a church in Ames, Iowa, were identified on Friday as students at Iowa State University.
The students were Eden Montang, a senior in the College of Human Sciences, and Vivian Flores, a junior in the College of Agriculture, according to a statement from the university president’s office. The women were attending a Bible study hosted off campus by a college ministry.
The Story County sheriff said in a news conference Friday that the shooting was a “targeted act of violence” following a “domestic situation” between the shooter and Montang. The man died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.
Less than a week ago, the man was arrested and charged with harassment and impersonating a public official, the sheriff said, and both charges were related to Montang.
More than 80 university and high-school students were in the auditorium of the church when the shots were fired in the parking lot, the sheriff said.
The deaths follow a series of mass shootings in recent weeks across the U.S., including one in a Uvalde, Tex., elementary school that left 19 students and two teachers dead. The Iowa shooting appeared to be an example of intimate-partner violence, a common and sometimes poorly understood phenomenon that can go undetected on college campuses.
In the statement, the university pointed students toward campus counseling. “This is an especially difficult time as we also process recent shooting deaths that have occurred across the country,” the statement said. ”There is no justification for this senseless gun violence. These terrible tragedies must end.”