At 7 am this morning I awoke to a crime scene outside of my window. I left my room and the first thing I heard was that a girl had been shot, not thirty feet from my window. While on the phone with my grandma I saw her body.
I can still see the way her face looked. Almost as pale as her hair, her mouth still making the shape of her final scream.
And then again in my dreams, her slipper clad feet chasing after me, her mouth grotesquely agape, screaming at me. "Why didn't you look closer? Why didn't you care more? Why were you so chipper when talking to the police when they asked about me?" And then she pulls out a knife and stabs me with it, my body landing exactly where hers laid only hours before.
And then I wake up, just as my horrified roommates spy my dead body while peering out the sliding glass door. Why do I feel so guilty? Why did seeing this body affect me so much? I had no relation to this girl and know nothing about the case other than what was told in the news. I should be able to carry on as usual. But then again, I saw death this morning.
I saw a girl, my age, who at the time I returned home around 10 pm last night, was living life as usual, and when I woke up this morning had been struck down in the prime of her life. I suddenly came to a complete realization that this world is a terrible place and at any moment in time our lives could just end, whether it is due to natural causes or at the hands of someone else.
And why is that? When did we decide it was okay to place our lives over the lives of others? When did we, as humans decide that we have a right to determine that? Who decides? Who made themselves so high above the rest of us that they could say "I'm human enough to live but this innocent girl who has barely begun life is not." And most importantly, what makes some people think that they are some sort of god among men?
I hope that the moment that poor girl screamed and died the killer realized they were a monster. I hope that's why they ran, because they couldn't bear to stand there and look at the awful thing they had done. No one, under any circumstances deserves to die. And when a killer goes out and takes away someone life, the victim isn't the only who dies.
That girl had parents, friends, relatives, co-workers who all have to now carry on with their lives without her, who couldn't have been more than 25. A piece of these people's lives DIED with her in the moment that she took her last breath. An estimated 300 or so people live in College Terrace Apartments where the victim was found and gone is there piece of mind. And those things and pieces of people that died with that girl are also on the killers hands.
I hope the killer is sitting in a dark room somewhere tortured by the thing they did. I hope they know that for the rest of their life, they'll wake up and she won't. And I hope they realize they can't run forever and that they will be caught and brought to justice. I hope to God that the killer sits in prison for the rest of their life, remembering what they did. Because by taking this girls life, they have forfeited their own.
Edit: After writing this up at 11:45 pm some new information has been brought to light in this case.
The victims name was Heather Cassel, and she was 20 years old. She was the same age as me. I can't even imagine the grief that her family and friends must be feeling for her life to be cut short so soon. Rest in peace.
Two suspects have been arrested, Johnathon Ritchey, 23, and Gary Stoddard, 45. A gun, believed to be the murder weapon has also been recovered along with Cassel's vehicle.
Ritchey was arrested for first degree murder and Stoddard was arrested for first degree murder and kidnapping.
For more information see the following links.
Woman shot, killed at apartment complex near SFCC (kxly)
Woman shot, killed outside apartment near SFCC (krem2 news)
Two suspects arrested in deadly shooting near SFCC (kxly)
Woman shot in front of apartment complex has been identified (krem2 news)