Emerson Lotzia said Sotloff is a fearless journalist and a great friend
American journalist and former UCF student Steven Sotloff is being held hostage by ISIL, an Islamic extremist group. ISIL released a video titled “A Message to America” which first showed the beheading of American journalist James Foley before threatening Sotloff’s life. On Wednesday, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said, “We have reached the judgment that this video is authentic.”
“I refuse to watch the video,” said Emerson Lotzia, Sotloff’s former roommate at UCF. “But a friend messaged me a still [photo] from the end of the video when Steve makes an appearance.”
Lotzia lived with Sotloff on campus after meeting over the summer of their freshman year. The two then moved to The Village at Alafaya Club for two more years.
“It’s sickening. I was speechless. I didn’t want to believe it was real. We never thought something like this would happen to one of our friends,” said Lotzia.
Lotzia said that even as a college student, Sotloff had a strong passion for reporting.
“He loved to write and worked as a freelancer for the Central Florida Future during his time at UCF. He was big into politics and always had his eye on the Middle East,” said Lotzia. “He talked about traveling there to cover the news. It’s a dangerous job but he’s a fearless man and you weren’t going to stop him.”
Lotzia also added, “Steve was a great friend, the kind you want to surround yourself with. He was caring and he’d do anything for us. Now we’re trying to do what we can to bring him home.”