The UB community was shaken up by the fatal stabbing that resulted in the death of Buffalo State College student Tyler Lewis outside of the Ellicott Complex Friday night.
A “person of interest” identified by UPD fled the crime scene Friday night and has not been apprehended. UPD announced it’s made “significant process” in identifying those involved with the murder in a statement Wednesday.
The morning after the murder, the caution tape was removed from the crime scene, open house tours resumed and the university appeared to be operating under normal circumstances, leaving students confused.
“It felt like it [the murder] didn’t even happen,” Catherine Castelli, a freshman exercise science major, said. “UB wasn’t really talking about it, but the students were — because they were concerned.”
After the first on-campus murder in at least 30 years, UB students are worried about their safety on campus and have questions about how the university will make the campus safer.
Castelli, who lives in Richmond Quad near where the killing took place, told The Spectrum that she feels safe on campus during the day. But at night, she is scared to walk out of her dorm building.
“It is a little worrying, the fact that someone actually got murdered in a parking lot right outside my building,” Castelli said. “You never know what could happen.”
Castelli isn’t alone. The fatal stabbing jarred students who live on campus.
“Tonight [after] coming home from lab, I had my keys in my hand so that the sharp part was between my fingers — in case someone came up to me, I could jab them or something,” Creekside Village resident Nataly Aucapina, a sophomore speech and hearing sciences major, said.
Aucapina said that she now dashes to her car at night, in hopes that no one will attack her.
Students told The Spectrum what changes they would like to see addressed by the university.
“I would definitely say maybe have more security on campus, [like] police officers. If there were more police around, it probably could have been prevented,” Castelli said.
Along with more police presence, some suggested setting up more cameras around campus to keep students safe.
“When I first moved in last year, the first thing that my parents noticed was that there are basically no cameras,” Aucapina said. “So, if something did happen, you would never know.”
Sophie Manning, a freshman biomedical sciences major, suggested that the campus should invest in implementing more blue lights around campus, observing that they are “pretty spread out.”
The university implemented the blue light system, emergency phone stations scattered across UB’s three campuses, as an accessible emergency response system for students.
There are 62 blue lights on North Campus, according to the UPD emergency response website.
But only nine of the systems are located at the Ellicott Complex. And of those, only three blue light towers are located on Ellicott East, which encompasses Spaulding Quad, Wilkeson Quad and Richmond Quad, where the stabbing took place.
The closest blue light towers to Moody Terrace are in the Richmond B parking lot and the Richmond A parking lot. Both towers are approximately 500 feet of walking distance away from Moody Terrace, according to Google Maps.
UPD Chief Chris Bartolomei assured students that the campuses are “extremely safe” and that University Police have “increased patrols near the Ellicott Complex area while the investigation continues,” in an Oct. 15 statement.
The Spectrum reached out to UPD Chief Deputy Josh Sticht about the increased police presence around the Ellicott area.
“We [UPD] do not believe there is any continuing threat to the campus community resulting from Friday night’s fatal stabbing, but we are increasing our presence around the Ellicott Complex out of an abundance of caution and to ensure that students feel safe,” Sticht said.
UPD has maximized North Campus staffing, now having six officers assigned to North Campus, doubling the number of officers that are usually patrolled there.
“Our Officers work either 12-hour or eight-hour shifts to ensure 24-hour staffing,” Sticht said. “We are maximizing North Campus staffing across all shifts for 24-hour coverage.”
They are looking for any kind of dangerous behavior and are working to provide a reassuring presence in a “balanced manner.”
We do not have an end date planned at this time,” Sticht said.
Anyone with information about the incident or the person of interest is being urged to “contact University Police immediately” at 716-645-2222.
Kayla Estrada is a senior news/features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Victoria Hill is an assistant news/features editor and can be reached at email@example.com
Kiana Hodge is an assistant news/features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kayla Estrada is a senior news/features editor at The Spectrum. She is an English major who enjoys rainy weather, “Bob’s Burgers” and asking people who they voted for. When she’s not writing, she can be found hunting for odd-looking knick-knacks at the nearest thrift store.