2 Dead in Murder-Suicide at Columbus State University

Both victims were students at the school and were found dead in and next to a vehicle.

2 Dead in Murder-Suicide at Columbus State University

Photo: aijohn784, Adobe Stock

COLUMBUS, Ga. — A man and a woman were found dead Friday morning on Columbus State University’s main campus in what authorities believe to be a murdersuicide.

Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan said it appears the male shot and killed the female before shooting himself, reports KKTV. The female was found in a vehicle and the male was found up against the vehicle’s tire. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

The victims have been identified as 20-year-old Gisela Pierce and 25-year-old Nathaniel Janik. CSU President Stuart Rayfield confirmed both of the deceased were students.

CSU said the incident happened near the LeNoir Annex which is the headquarters for CSU’s robotics and engineering programs and is located next to a student housing building. Officers with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Columbus Police Department, and the CSU Police responded to the scene.

In a statement Sunday, Rayfield said there was a delay in getting notifications to the community and that the school is reviewing its processes to “ensure timely notifications in the future.” Rayfield also announced she would be hosting a safety forum “where others will join me to provide updates on campus public safety and student support resources.”

Located in the heart of Columbus, CSU has around 8,500 students and is part of the University System of Georgia. Student Nate Eroh said he feels safe on campus despite the incident happening near where he lives.

“It’s scary, but, like, at the same, there’s nothing we can do at this point,” he told The Ledger-Enquirer. “I still feel pretty safe, it’s just kinda weird seeing all the tape and the cops.”

Another CSU student said violence in Columbus is an issue.

“It’s absolutely terrible,” said Ezra Otersen. “I’m from Columbus and so I’m sort of like desensitized to all the violence in the area.”

According to Cure Violence Columbus, homicides in Columbus tripled from 2009 to 2020 with 2020 seeing a record number of 46.

In May 2023, Columbus Police responded to eight shootings over three days. Just three months prior, there were also eight shootings in Columbus over three days, resulting in five deaths. In one of the incidents, nine children were shot at a gas station, including a 5-year-old, a 12-year-old, three 13-year-olds, a 14-year-old, two 15-year-olds, and a 17-year-old.

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About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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