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Duke students 'don't feel that comfortable' after recent attacks

Posted December 12, 2016

— A 911 call released Monday revealed that a woman who was attacked at Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham on Saturday was not only cut on the hand, but also on the face.

Police said a woman was robbed of her purse and attacked with a stun gun and knife at about 12:45 p.m. 911 callers said the victim was screaming for help, and strangers nearby ran to get there.

"It's pretty scary," said Catriona Harvey, a senior at Duke University. "I don't feel that comfortable even walking to the bus stop because I'm off campus."

In a separate attack, police said a man took out a knife and sexually assaulted a woman near Swift Avenue and Campus Drive at about 10 a.m. on Nov. 30.

"It was really surprising to hear it happened at such an innocent time," said PhD student Moryel Saify.

In response to both incidents, Duke said it is expanding its Duke Vans program, which provides rides to students. Duke police officers are also available for a walking escort.

While some students feel those programs may help, they acknowledge it is impossible to ensure safety 100 percent of the time.

"The Duke Gardens are huge," said Saify. "There is no way they can cover all that area. It seems like it's just something that's unfortunate, but it's really hard to prevent."

The suspect in Saturday's robbery is described as a man, 6 feet tall with a thin to medium build. He was in his late 30s, had no facial hair, short to medium hair and was wearing a black sweatshirt and dark blue jeans. Police do not believe he is a student.

Anyone with information about the incident should call Duke University police at 919-684-2444.


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  • Kristin Byrne Dec 13, 2016
    user avatar

    Since the description is incomplete....from the Duke Police themselves

    "The suspect is described as a black male, 6-feet, thin to medium build, late 30’s, clean shaven, short to medium hair, black sweat shirt, dark blue jeans. Armed with knife and taser."

  • Alfred Barnes Dec 13, 2016
    user avatar

    No other distinguishing characteristics, like race?

    Obviously, the attackers are victims of their environment and upbringing. As @Mitch Meyeres, thankfully, it's a gun free zone.

    In all seriousness, thoughts and prayers to the real victims.

  • David Cates Dec 12, 2016
    user avatar

    What color was the attacker? That will narrow the search down don't you think?

  • Mitch Meyers Dec 12, 2016
    user avatar

    It's a "gun free zone" everyone, you'll be fine. Nothing to worry about.