On Sunday, the bodies of Ethan Chapin, age 20; Madison Mogen, age 21; Xana Kernodle, age 20; and Kaylee Goncalves, age 21, were found in an apartment near the University of Idaho campus.
In an interview, the mayor of Moscow, Idaho, Art Bettge, said that the police are still looking into what happened, but the case is being treated as a murder. He said the police didn’t think there was “any obvious danger to the public,” but he wouldn’t say how the victim died or if the suspect was still out there.
“It’s hard to deal with a crime of this size,” Mr. Bettge said, adding that it would take time for police to figure out what happened. “From what I can tell, this was a crime of passion,” he said.
Authorities said they got a call Sunday about a “person unconscious,” When they went to the house, they found three women and a man dead. On Monday, the victims were named Ethan Chapin, 20, from Conway, Washington; Madison Mogen, 21, from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, from Avondale, Arizona; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, from Rusdrum, Holland.
Coroner Cathy Mabbutt for Latta County said that all four deaths were being treated as murders, not as murder-suicides. Ms. Mabut said that her office would do an autopsy on Wednesday. She said that she couldn’t say anything about how the victim died without permission from the police.
All of the people who were killed were students, the University of Idaho said, and classes were canceled on Monday.
In a message to students and staff, the university’s president, Scott Green, said, “Words cannot adequately describe the light these students have brought to this world, nor can they lessen the level of pain we all feel when they die under these tragic circumstances.”
The deaths happened on the same day that three football players at the University of Virginia were killed and two others were hurt in a shooting. The campus was locked down for 12 hours before police said that a 22-year-old student suspect had been arrested and was facing charges.
Moscow is on the edge of Pullman, Washington, home to the much bigger Washington State University and a college town of about 25,000 people. Rolling wheat fields surround it. The campus of the University of Idaho has more than 10,000 students and focuses on engineering and farming. Since 2015, there have been no murders in the city.
The murder occurred in a house on a block right below a water tower with the university’s logo. On Monday, police surrounded a gray house in front of which several cars were parked. Some nearby students said they were leaving town because they were scared about what happened.
Paige Carter, a senior public relations student who lives in a house nearby, said that she and her roommate were on their way to the airport. Many of their neighbors have moved away.