Idaho murders: Residents rattled by unsolved slayings fear for their safety, seek self-defense training

Some Moscow, Idaho, residents who report to work at odd hours say they are "genuinely" fearful for their safety when they're commuting – often walking – or spending time alone at their jobs, social media show.

Since early on in the investigation into the quadruple homicides in the small city of Moscow, users on Reddit have sought advice and expressed concerns about getting to work, and being there alone, in the wake of the killings. 

"I have a job in town that requires me to be there early early early AM," one user wrote early on in the investigation. "I always walk to work and always have since starting there last year. Is it unreasonable for me to ask my employer to put me on a new shift? I’m worried about my safety, genuinely."

Police still haven't identified the killer in a quadruple homicide near the University of Idaho more than one month ago, leaving the community reeling and many residents seeking out self-defense training.

Nate Jeschke, the founder and chief trainer at Testudo Defense in Moscow, said that inquiries about firearm training classes have spiked in the wake of the murders, though sign-ups haven't increased as much for logistical reasons.

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"The amount of interest has tripled. A lot more people are walking up to me, emailing and texting about training," Jeschke, a former U.S. Army bomb squad technician, told Fox News Digital. "The vast majority of people are interested in either Basic Pistol or our CCW classes but due to the range being covered in a foot of snow and ice we're having to ask people to sign up on a waitlist until the range is dry."

Live firearm training by Testudo Defense in Moscow, Idaho. (Nate Jeschke, Testudo Defense)

Nate Jeschke, founder and chief trainer at Testudo Defense in Moscow, Idaho, teaches a recent firearm training class. (Nate Jeschke, Testudo Defense)

The Moscow Police Department initially said that the murders in the early morning hours of Nov. 13 were an "isolated, targeted" incident, and that authorities do "not believe there is an ongoing community risk." That changed three days later on Nov. 16, when Moscow Police Chief James Fry said at a press conference that they "cannot say there is no threat to the community."

With no suspect identified more than a month later, anywhere from 25-40% of students at the University of Idaho decided not to return to campus for the remainder of the semester.

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For the students still at school and other Moscow residents, Jeschke noted that firearm training is just one element of self-defense.

"Firearms skills are a subset of defensive tactics, along with martial arts, situational awareness, de-escalation, etc.," Jeschke said. "I think a lot of members of the community felt lied to when the MPD said that there was no threat and they are taking that statement and lack of resolution to the murders pretty hard."

Cathy Cury, the general manager at V7 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Moscow, said that their gym has also seen a spike in inquiries about training.

"What happened has certainly heightened interest in classes, but the trend towards more female participation has been on the rise for the past years. Having said that, I would say that the past month has led to even more calls about our striking classes," Cury told Fox News Digital. "During our classes we promote the importance of self-awareness and self-security to avoid situations, as well as teach the skills to address situations as they arise through a variety of drills and live training."

A Brazilian jiu-jitsu class at the V7 gym in Moscow, Idaho. (V7 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu)

V7 has seen a spike in interest for their classes over the past month. (V7 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu)

Police have not identified a suspect or located a murder weapon, though they believe the attacker used a fixed-blade knife.

The four victims – Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21 – were all stabbed multiple times and some had defensive wounds, according to a medical examiner.

RELATED: Students' unsolved deaths prompt rumors, doxxing, harassment

University of Idaho senior Katarina Hockema described the feelings of insecurity that many students are grappling with in a recent op-ed for the Idaho Statesman, writing she is "anxious for my safety, as a lack of suspect and a lack of threat do not align."

"I'm fully aware that law enforcement has the resources that they need to be able to solve this case," she told Fox News Digital last week. "And they're doing everything that they can and putting everything that they can into trying to solve this. But when it continues to go on day by day, you hear very little information — rightfully so, because you don't want to compromise the investigation — that can be frustrating."

Front view of the house where four Idaho students were killed on Nov. 13. (Adam Sabes/Fox News Digital)

An aerial map released by the Moscow City Police Department shows the final movements of Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Kaylee Goncalves before they were brutally killed Nov. 13. Inset, a photo of the victims. (Moscow City Police Depa

As the investigation surpasses one month with no one in custody, police have pledged to solve the case.

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"This case is not going cold. We have tips coming in. We have investigators out every day interviewing people. We’re still reviewing evidence, we’re still looking at all aspects of this," Fry told Fox News last week. "I said early on that no stone will go unturned, and I mean that."

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