Police seek suspect in university student’s assault

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Troy University officials are urging students to keep their doors locked after an off-campus burglary and sexual assault sent a female student to the hospital on Monday.

On Tuesday, Troy Police released a statement that officers had responded to a call from Hunters Mountain Mobile Estates at about 11:30 p.m. Monday. Once there, they discovered a burglary and assault had occurred about 3:30 p.m. that afternoon. The victim was a Troy University student.

“From what we know, it appears she did not know her attacker,” said Troy Police Chief Jimmy Ennis, adding that the department isn’t releasing many details at this time due to the seriousness of the investigation.

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The suspect in this case is described as a 40-to 50-year-old black male who is about 6 feet tall and weighs about 250 pounds. The man has a low haircut and was wearing a black or dark blue shirt and loose fitting black or blue jeans, according to the police description.

A safety alert was sent via e-mail to all Troy University faculty, staff and students Tuesday afternoon.

Dean of Student Services Herbert Reeves wrote, “Please keep your doors locked at all times and exercise good judgment when opening your door to strangers. Report any suspicious behavior or persons to the police immediately by calling 911…”

“We are aggressively investigating this incident,” said Troy Police Sgt. Benny Scarbrough. “We’ve got everybody working on it.”

Scarbrough offered some safety advice to area residents.

“Don’t open a door to anyone who knocks on it, unless you know for certain who it is,” Scarbrough said, noting that people should always use peepholes and windows to verify who is at their door.

Not asking “Who is it?” when someone knocks cuts down on the threat risk of an assailant entering a home by force, he said.

“If you are uncomfortable, any time you have a gut feeling that makes you uneasy, then you contact us and let us know what is happening and ask for an officer to come out and meet with you,” Scarbrough said.

Scarbrough also said it is important to stay on the line with a police dispatcher until you have an officer at your side.

It’s also a good idea to enroll in Rape Aggression Defense courses offered by the university and Troy Police, Scarbrough suggested.

Anyone who lives in or was visiting Hunters Mountain Monday afternoon and may have seen the subject or have other information is urged to call the Troy Police Department at 566-0500, or the Secret Witness Line at 566-5555.