Police are investigating the deaths of four University of Idaho students found Sunday in a home near campus. Moscow Police Department officers discovered the deaths when they responded to a report of an unconscious person just before noon, according to a city press release.
Police characterized the deaths as suspected homicides, which generally means the killing of one person by another, although the term does not necessarily suggest the death was intentional or criminally committed.
Authorities did not release additional details, including the cause of death. Police said more information would be shared later.
Brian Nickerson, the fire chief of the Moscow Volunteer Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services, said police were the first to arrive at the home. First responders from the fire department and EMS did not enter the interior or transport anyone from the scene, Nickerson said.
“It is with profound sadness that I share with you that the university was informed today of the deaths of four University of Idaho students living off campus who were allegedly victims of homicide,” said University of Idaho President Scott Green in a statement posted to Facebook Sunday evening. “Out of respect for these fellow vandals, statewide and online classes are canceled on Monday, November 14.”
The university said counselors would be available for students at the campus counseling center, while employees could access assistance through an employee assistance program. Green urged people to reach out if they were concerned about classmates or colleagues.
“An event of this magnitude can naturally have significant impacts on those left behind,” Green wrote. “As Vandals, we must unite and lift each other up.”
Green added that the students’ families have been notified and that the university “will continue to actively assist law enforcement efforts.”
Shortly after the bodies were discovered, the university advised students to shelter in place for about an hour until investigators determined there was no active threat to others in the area. .
The Moscow Police Department said the investigation was ongoing and asked anyone with information to call the department.
Moscow City is a close-knit college town nestled in the hills of north-central Idaho, about 80 miles southeast of Spokane, Washington.
U.S. Representative Mike Simpson wrote on Twitter that he and his wife, Kathy Simpson, sent their deepest condolences to the families of the students.
“Our hearts ache at your loss,” Simpson wrote. “Today we are all vandals.”
Shortly after Moscow police announced the investigation into the death, students at the University of Virginia were also told to shelter in place after police said a suspect shot dead other students on a bus on their way home from a field trip. The shooting started. The shooting sparked an intense manhunt on Sunday, and authorities announced Monday that a suspect, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., had been apprehended.
The deaths at both universities prompted officials and other colleges to send messages of condolence.
“We were shocked to learn of the tragic deaths of four uidaho students this weekend in Moscow. We mourn the lives lost and mourn their loved ones and the entire vandal community,” Boise State University wrote. on Twitter on Monday. “Our hearts also go out to the UVA community where the violence left three people dead.”
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