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Ohio State Student Shot, Killed In Columbus' First Homicide Of 2017

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Police in Columbus are investigating the capital city's first homicide of 2017 after an Ohio State University student was gunned down not far from campus.

Officers were dispatched to a home on Northwood Avenue around 12:30 a.m. Thursday following reports that a man was shot.

Inside the home, police found 20-year-old Tarak Underiner unresponsive and suffering from several gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Underiner was a student at The Ohio State University, with a double major in Spanish and marketing. He was also a staunch supporter of allowing concealed handguns on college campuses and served as the treasurer for the club Buckeyes For Concealed Carry.

"Tarak Underiner was both a personal friend of mine and a bright young man with a promising future ahead of him," wrote Ohio Students for Concealed Carry director Michael Newbern in a Facebook post.

In November, just a few days after a car and knife attack on the OSU campus, Underiner testified at the Statehouse in support of House Bill 48, a Republican-backed bill that aimed to ease restrictions on where conceal-carry permit holders can bring a gun.

“College campuses and the areas surrounding them present environments rich with potential victims," Underiner told a Senate committee. "They’re willing to gamble we’re unarmed and it pays off."

That bill was passed by Governor Kasich in December, but has not been implemented at Ohio State.

In December, Underiner appeared on WOSU's All Sides With Ann Fisher to speak on the subject of concealed carry. In the discussion, Underiner stressed the importance of allowing concealed carry on-campus so that individuals could protect themselves with a firearm when commuting to and from school.  

Police say investigators discovered no signs of forced entry at the residence. The victim's two roommates were questioned but neither is considered a suspect at this time.

Detectives don't believe the shooting was random, or connected to the university. An investigation is ongoing.

Gun rights activist, Jeffry Smith, who recently organized a concealed carry demonstration on the OSU campus, says he's deeply troubled by the incident.

"I am awaiting, like everyone is, for more facts to come out," says Smith.

Smith says that the debate over concealed carry restrictions are irrelevant in this case. At 20 years old, Underiner would have been too young to legally carry a hand gun.