MOSCOW -- The woman shot and killed in Moscow Monday night is confirmed to be 22-year-old Katy Benoit, a University of Idaho psychology graduate student.
The University of Idaho says Benoit was killed in her off-campus home and the suspect, Ernesto Bustamante, was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
During a news conference Tuesday, the Moscow Police Department said Katy, who was a Boise native, was shot outside her home at about 8:40 p.m. on Lily Street near the UI campus. Her roommate was inside at the time of the shooting.
The police department issued an arrest warrant for the suspect Ernesto Bustamante. Bustamante was a former assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Communication Studies. He resigned on August 19, 2011.
Moscow Police served the warrant at the University Inn-Best Western Tuesday morning where they believed Bustamante was staying. The vehicle the suspect rented was located outside, and records indicate he checked into the hotel Monday night at about 9:30.
Police deployed tear gas into the room. When they entered, they found the suspect on the bed, dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Moscow Police say Bustamante and Katy Benoit were known to each other and had some type of relationship. The details of that relationship are not being released at this time.
Katy's family issued this statement Tuesday afternoon:
"Katy was a beautiful, intelligent and musically talented woman and we are so saddened by her tragic death. She was looking forward to her graduate studies and excited about her future. Katy was a friend to many people and loving daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece and cousin. Thank you to our many friends and the communities of Moscow and Boise for your love, support and prayers."
The University of Idaho released the following statement:
"Last night, a University of Idaho graduate student was the victim of homicide at an off-campus residence. The student’s identity is being withheld, pending notification of next of kin. The incident remains under investigation. Moscow Police have confirmed to us that the suspect identified in the investigation - Ernesto A. Bustamante, a former faculty member who worked at the university from 2007 to 2011 -- is now dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. The university is cooperating fully with the Moscow Police Department.
We are both shocked and saddened by these events. Our heartfelt sympathy goes to the victim’s family and friends. The university is making grief counseling available for students, faculty and staff."
The University of Idaho is opening up the counseling center to students in search of grief counseling.
At least two people who were in the area of the shooting Monday night said they first thought they were hearing fireworks. They later realized they heard the gunshots.
"My fiance' and I thought that they were fireworks," described a neighbor. "It wasn't an automated sound, and it didn't have a loud resonating noise like a gun would normally have. I can confirm there were about 11 to 12 shots fired."
The neighbor said there were no sirens or ambulances outside the home where the shooting happened. Neighbors could see only caution tape and a police car with a spotlight on the door. This morning, she describes the neighborhood as being very quiet.
Jane Gordon, a law student at UI, said students received e-mail and text alerts this morning that warned them not to drive near the University Inn-Best Western because police were executing a search warrant. She said campus never closed down, and students at UI are talking about the shooting today.