UGA students say they fear for their safety after 22-year-old murdered on campus

Students at the University of Georgia said there is a somber mood on campus after two deaths last week.

Laken Riley, 22, was found beaten to death on a running trail after she went for a jog last week. A Venezuelan man, 26-year-old Jose Ibarra, has been arrested on murder charges.

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Also last week, a freshman at the school, Wyatt Banks, died by suicide in a dorm room.

Riley was not a student at UGA, but attended Augusta University College of Nursing, which is a few minutes from UGA.

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Students gathered for a vigil on campus Monday to honor two lives cut short.

Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Ashli Lincoln spoke to students Monday, who said more needs to be done about on-campus safety.

Some students said more security lights and security call boxes are needed on campus.

“Keep your head on swivel, this is something we’re not used to,” John Vaught said. “I feel safe in this community, but something like this brings it tour attention. It’s not something you think will happen in your community and for it to happen on campus especially.”

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Vaught said he uses the trail Riley was killed on frequently.

“They’re kind of dark sometimes, and it could be isolated,” Vaught said. “A lot of people aren’t there early in the morning.”

“Some people don’t feel safe to be on campus right now because of the potential harm that could come to them,” student Sofia Castresana said. “As a woman and as someone who is Hispanic I am worried about my safety.

Castresana said that because Ibarra is an illegal immigrant, Hispanic students are now facing racially motivated threats.

Lincoln has reached out to UGA officials about what they plan to do to increase safety on campus, but has not gotten a response.