University copes with loss of student



*Update as of 4:18 p.m.

IU Police Department Chief of Police Keith Cash confirmed that a handgun was used.

“All the information and evidence we have collected supports the initial report of a suicide,” Cash said in an email.

***

Students, friends and the University are dealing with the loss of freshman Kira Riley, who died in an apparent suicide Tuesday in her dorm room in Briscoe Quad.

Riley, a native of Moores Hill, Ind., was confirmed dead at the scene, according to a press release from the IU Police Department.

The death was an apparent suicide, IUPD Chief of Police Keith Cash said, but he could not confirm any other details. Two independent reports indicated that the student lived on the seventh floor of the Gucker Tower.

According to the press release, Dean of Students Pete Goldsmith said Riley was not currently enrolled in classes, but had been last fall. Next of kin have been notified.

Goldsmith, who called the loss a “tragedy,” said five members of IU Counseling and Psychological Services worked with students Tuesday after the incident.

“Our first thought is to help the students who knew the student and try to provide the support they need there,” he said.

A statement released by Briscoe Quad also encouraged students to support each other.

“Our thoughts go out to the friends, floor-mates and family affected by this loss, and we encourage everyone to reach out to all of those in need of support, no matter who they are.”

The statement also expressed sadness for the loss of Riley.

“It is a tragedy to lose a fellow resident of our building; it is even more of a tragedy to lose a fellow human being.”

Goldsmith said Riley would be added to those memorialized at the first Student Remembrance Event. The event, at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Whittenberger Auditorium in the Indiana Memorial Union, will commemorate students who have died.

Condolences and multiple statements of “I miss you” appeared online even before the IUPD released Riley’s name.

Students and friends posted comments on the story published Tuesday on the Indiana Daily Student’s website. After her name was released, they called Riley “a beautiful girl with a beautiful soul” who had “a smile plastered on her face almost all of the time.”

“Kira Riley was a beautiful person inside and out. She brought light and happiness to all around her,” posted a commenter who gave the name Kelsey. “I, myself, was nearly envious of how happy and cheerful the girl always was.”

On Facebook, the first wall post expressing regret was published Tuesday at about 10:30 p.m. As Riley’s name was released, more friends posted with sentiments like “You are missed,” and “A sad good-bye to a sweet young lady.”

One, posted at about 1:30 p.m., said simply, “I love you, Kira,” while another called her “Teddy Bear” and ended with “Love, Space Heater.”

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