Heading Logo


Tragic story of Columbus' first homicide victim of the year

By MARC KOVAC Capital Bureau Chief Published: January 15, 2017 12:00 AM

COLUMBUS -- I don't know a whole lot about Tarak Andrew Underiner.

Reading the incident report posted by the Columbus Police Department a few day back, I know he was 20 years old and probably an Ohio State University student.

And around 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 5, police found him "unresponsive and suffering from several gunshot wounds" at a Columbus residence.

He was pronounced dead less than 10 minutes after law enforcement arrived at the scene, becoming the first homicide of the new year in Ohio's capital city.

In the initial report, investigators noted that they did "not believe this incident was random in nature, nor has any connection to the university."

[Article continues below]

For most people reading about such incidents, that would be that, a tragic death of a too-young guy.

Except for this: A few weeks ago, in the days after that knife attack on the OSU campus, Underiner was one of the students who traveled to the Statehouse to urge lawmakers to allow concealed firearms on university campuses.

According to the testimony he submitted to the Ohio Senate's Government Oversight and Reform Committee, Underiner was a member of the Buckeyes for Concealed Carry, Students for Concealed Carry's OSU chapter.

He told lawmakers that there had been 129 assaults, 45 robberies and 21 sex crimes on campus last semester. He cited a horrific case of robbery, kidnapping and sexual assault at the University of Cincinnati a couple of years ago.

And he said allowing law-abiding citizens to carry their permitted concealed firearms on campus could help to thwart some of that criminal activity.

[Article continues below]

"When you disarm us on campus, you disarm us from the time we leave home until we return," he wrote in his testimony.

He added later, "Campus carry would make me feel safe. Campus carry would make my parents feel safe, knowing I can protect myself if need be. Off-campus crime rates have been shown to decrease with campus carry."

Lawmakers passed legislation during their lame duck session potentially opening the door for more places to allow concealed carry on their premises. The list included public colleges and universities, though the governing boards of those campuses will have to move to allow concealed carry in advance.

"Each one of you can say that you did your part in promoting student safety and reducing crime around universities in Ohio when election season rolls around," Underiner testified.

I don't know the circumstances of Underiner's death. I don't know why he was shot. I don't know if he had a firearm on hand to protect himself or if he would have had a chance to use it.

I do know he's dead, the victim of the type of incident that he talked about at the Statehouse a few weeks ago.

" It is vital that we, as students, feel safe on campus," he concluded in his written testimony. "I implore you to restore our right to safety and not let the university make life or death decisions on our behalf."

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.


Rate this article

Do you want to leave a comment?   Please Log In or Register to comment.