Murder-Suicide Claims Lives of Two College Students

Murder-Suicide Claims Lives of Two College Students
Chris Bernardi

Tragedy has taken the lives of two college students shot to death at a Walnut Creek home in an apparent murder-suicide. Walnut Creek police are investigating the North Homestead neighborhood after receiving calls of what neighbors claimed were gunshots around 6:50 a.m. Tuesday morning.

The victims have been identified as 19-year-old college student Clare Orton; of Walnut Creek, and 21-year-old Scott Bertics, of Lafayette. Police report the victims knew one another and had a previous dating relationship. Initial reports indicate Orton was shot while answering the front door, then immediately her ex-boyfriend turned the gun on himself.

“I didn’t hear anything this morning, but I’m in shock,” said one neighbor who asked that his name not be used. “I have a granddaughter the same age, so it hits close to home.”

Orton, a 2014 graduate of Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek, was home from college after finishing her freshman year at San Diego State University. University spokesman, Greg Block claimed she was an honors student studying environmental engineering. Orton was also a member of SDSU’s Society of Women Engineers, a group now mourning the loss of their fellow environmental engineer.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones,” Madeleine Rasche wrote.

Bertics, a 2012 graduate of Acalanes High School in Lafayette, enrolled at the University of Stanford in 2012, but took a voluntary leave of absence in the fall of 2014. He had yet to declare a major, but was listed on a 2013 demonstration called “Controlling Robot Dynamics with Spiking Neurons.”

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