ORLANDO, Fla. - A day after an American journalist was beheaded in Syria by an Islamic group, a former University of Central Florida student could be the next one to die.
Steven Sotloff went to the University of Central Florida from 2002 to 2004, where he studied journalism and then went overseas to report.
He also wrote for the school’s paper, The Central Florida Future.
The terrorist group ISIS has threatened that he’ll be the next American killed. Video released by the group shows the moments before American journalist James Foley was executed. Sotloff appears briefly at the end of it, where a captor threatens to take his life as well.
Sotloff was kidnapped by the extremist group one year ago.
Emerson Lotzia is best friends with Sotloff and his former roommate.
“We just want him home. We want him home and we want him home and safe in one piece,” Lotzia said.
Police officers watched over the family home in south Florida late Wednesday as news spread.
At UCF, students discussed it on campus and in class.
“Just hearing it is kinda creepy. Just to know that you can relate to someone at UCF (who) is getting involved in that mess,” said student Kevin Gaspar.
“It’s actually pretty frightening,” said UCF student Farah Mohammed. “I mean, how can people do that to other people? We’re all human beings at the end of the day.”
Friends and family members of Sotloff started a petition on the White House’s website urging the government to secure his safe return.
His Twitter page remains active. His last tweet was posted a year ago about his beloved Miami Heat.
UCF officials released a statement Wednesday that said, “This is an unspeakable terrible circumstance. We join so many others who hope for Steven’s safe return.”