Murder-suicide Leaves Community Confused

Jul 14, 2014

  A burst of shots were heard in the residential area at the bottom of Utah State University’s Old Main Hill on Monday at 12:15 a.m. Moments later, a vehicle was then seen fleeing the area. The incident raised suspicions and, as a result, police were dispatched.

Three people were left dead early Monday morning after what Police are calling a murder suicide.
Three people were left dead early Monday morning after what Police are calling a murder suicide.
Credit Nick Herrmann

“At about 16 minutes after midnight, our 911 communications center took a call and the report was possibly shots fired,” explained Logan City Chief of Police Gary Jensen.

The gun fire was confirmed when first responders arrived on the scene.

After the initial response, additional police arrived including a tactical team. Carrying assault rifles, the team stormed and cleared the apartment building, discovering the bodies of two young adults. Police have confirmed 19-year-old MacKenzie Madden, who lived in the apartment, and 25-year-old Johnathon Jacob Sadler as the victims.

About a half hour later, a number of police vehicles departed swiftly from the apartment at 636 East and 500 North, when reports of shots fired came from the northwest side of the city.

When police arrived at that apartment at 1693 North and 400 West, they discovered the body of 23-year-old Jared Jay Tolman, who had taken his own life.

Logan City Police Lt. Jeff Simmons said they believe a motive has been uncovered.

“There were a couple of guys, and there was a young lady, and there was only one of her and two of them. I don’t really know how else to put it,” said Simmons. “I think Mr. Tolman became frustrated with whatever he thought the relationship between him and Mackenzie was or was not. He ultimately made the decision to get a gun and go to MacKenzie’s home and shoot Johnathon and Mackenzie, and then went to a third home where he took his own life.”

The weapon used in the killings was a .223-caliber assault rifle that, despite rumors, was not supplied to Tolman through his service in the National Guard.

Simmons said the work is not over yet.

“We are still waiting on results from the autopsies, but I think we have put things together, and we’ll just spend the next few weeks organizing it and we’ll clear it out.”

Community members, including Madden's fellow USU classmates, were in shock at the news of the victims' deaths. Those who knew Tolman have expressed disbelief at his actions.

Family and friends of Madden and Sadler have been memorializing the victims on Facebook, leaving memories and collecting money to cover the funeral costs.