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Gunmen rob two students near Engineering School

Two University students were robbed at gunpoint Friday night near Thornton Hall on McCormick Road.

According to University Police Capt. Michael Coleman, the two male students were walking down the sidewalk on McCormick Road at about 11:45 p.m. and were approached by two men also walking on the sidewalk, one of whom brandished a firearm that the students identified as a revolver.

Coleman said the students gave the assailants their wallets and that the assailants then walked away in the other direction. The students were not hurt.

Coleman said one of the assailants was a black male aged 18-20, about 5 feet 11 inches tall and 160 pounds, wearing a light ski cap, a dark coat and jeans. The other assailant was a black male aged 19-20, about 6 feet 1 inch tall, about 200 pounds, also wearing a ski cap, a dark coat and jeans.

Dean of Students Penny Rue said recent events have caused her to become increasingly concerned about the safety of students.

"It is very, very disturbing that this is the second armed robbery this semester," Rue said. "The technique of not walking alone wasn't enough this time" to protect students.

A student was robbed at gunpoint near Courtenay House in the Alderman Road first-year residence area Halloween night.

Coleman said he was not sure if the Courtenay incident was related to Friday's armed robbery.

Rue said instead of walking home in the dark late at night, students should consider utilizing the bus system, which runs until midnight, and Escort Service, which runs from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day.

Coleman advised that students be alert when they are walking at night.

"Certainly it's good for students to be aware of their surroundings and the people around them," he said. "We don't want [students] to be paranoid, but to be reasonably suspicious of people they don't know."

But he added that the victims had followed some of the precautions the police recommend, such as walking in well-lit areas and walking in groups, but they were not able to prevent the attack.

Coleman said he did not know whether there were any other witnesses to the holdup, which occurred near the first-year McCormick Road residence area.

Residence Life Co-chair Esther Adams said Residence Life staff are very conscious of informing their residents about being safe.

"Obviously we are greatly concerned - this is another example of why we need to keep [residents] safe as possible," Adams said. "Especially now that it's getting dark out earlier, we are definitely doing everything we can" to try to protect residents.

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