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WHITEWATER, Wis. (Tribune News Service) — A UW-Whitewater student who served his country in Afghanistan died in an accidental self-inflicted shooting last Friday, Whitewater police said.

Zachary "Zac" Wasendorf, 23, was found dead of a single gunshot wound after a 911 call to the apartments at 304 N. Tratt St., according to a police news release.

No one else was injured, police said. The firearm, a handgun which was legally owned and possessed, was recovered.

UW-W on Thursday expressed sadness in an announcement to students and staff, saying Wasendorf was a political science major with a minor in leadership and military science.

"Zac was proudly serving as a sergeant in the Wisconsin National Guard and was an active member in Phi Delta Theta fraternity," the university release states.

"As we process this information, please know that counseling services are available to you. For students, please contact the University Health and Counseling Services. For faculty and staff, please contact Kepro, the employee assistance program," the university said.

The Middleton High School graduate served in multiple deployments, including a long one to Afghanistan, according to his obituary.

"Zac was a strong advocate for the care of returning soldiers from active duty," the obituary states.

A public gathering was planned for 4-7 pm. Thursday, June 10, at Gunderson West Funeral and Cremation Care, 7435 University Ave., Middleton. Military funeral honors by the Wisconsin Army National Guard were set for 6 p.m.

UW-Whitewater flew its flag at half staff Thursday in Wasendorf's memory.

The investigation by the Walworth County Medical Examiner's Department was continuing.

Whitewater Police Chief Aaron Raap told The Gazette on Thursday that it took several days for officials to get ahold of Wasendorf's next of kin.

On gun safety, he said he only had a standard piece of advice that many have heard before but was worth reiterating: "Always assume that any firearm is loaded."

"It's really, unfortunately, that simple," he said.

Update: This article was updated at 12:27 p.m. Thursday to include comments from the police chief.

(c)2021 The Janesville Gazette (Janesville, Wis.)

Visit The Janesville Gazette (Janesville, Wis.) at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

(Wisconsin National Guard Facebook)

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