Police: Rifle used in Tyler Hilinski's suicide taken from former teammate

ByKyle Bonagura Via <a Href="http://espn.go.com/" Title="espn" Class="espn_sc_byline">espn </a>
January 24, 2018, 10:19 AM

&#151; -- A week after Washington State Cougars quarterback Tyler Hilinski committed suicide, more details surrounding his death continue to emerge.

On Tuesday, Pullman police announced that the .223 caliber rifle that Hilinski used belonged to a former teammate, and it was taken "on or before" Jan. 12 without the teammate's knowledge. The owner of the rifle was not identified.

Hilinski was last seen alive on the morning of Jan. 16, when he dropped off a teammate at class at approximately 8:45 a.m. WSU staff members attempted to get in touch with Hilinski after he did not show up for a weightlifting session that afternoon. They contacted police at 4 p.m. to make a welfare check.

A short time before police arrived, Hilinski's body was discovered by a pair of unidentified teammates, who forced their way inside Hilinski's apartment when no one came to the door.

A suicide note was found at the scene, but the police investigation -- which will continue until results from a toxicology report return -- has not determined a motive.

The Whitman County (Washington) Coroner's office officially ruled the death a suicide on Thursday. The official cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

A funeral will be held Saturday in LaVerne, California.

On Saturday, coach Mike Leach said there were no obvious signs to indicate that Hilinski was dealing with any serious personal issues.

"Everyone has some dark space that they work through, I'm sure, but no one really saw anything like that," Leach said Saturday. "He didn't have signs of depression. He didn't have periods where he was moping around or anything like that. He was honestly a very steady guy. Kind of guy who would lift up others when they were down."

Hilinski, 21, had even texted teammates to set up a throwing session for Tuesday afternoon, according to Leach.

"Hadn't really had any issues," Leach said. "Some ups and downs as a college student, but nothing that would stand out that you would recognize as a problem."

Washington State quarterback Luke Falk is honoring Hilinski by wearing the No. 3 jersey of his former teammate at the Senior Bowl this week.

"I felt like it's what I needed to do," Falk told reporters Tuesday. "He needs to be remembered. He was an amazing person, an amazing soul. This guy was one of the most outgoing, bubbly ... just a guy you really want to be around. People need to know it.

"I think all of us that were close to him just kind of go back and ask ourselves, 'Were there signs? What could we have done?' I think we all kind of feel a little bit of guilt. I wish I could give him one more hug, one more pat on the butt and let him know he's loved."

Hilinski just finished his redshirt sophomore season and was expected to be the Cougars' starting quarterback next season. He started the team's bowl game against Michigan State and appeared in eight games, throwing for 1,176 yards and seven touchdowns.

The native of Claremont, California, enrolled at Washington State in January 2015 after attending Upland High School in southern California.

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