Charlottesville Police responded to a call at 2:50 a.m. Sunday reporting a suspicious incident in the Rugby Road area, according to a community alert sent by Timothy Longo, associate vice president for security and safety and chief of University Police.
According to the alert, a young woman was walking on a path south of Westminster Presbyterian Church on Rugby Road when a man emerged from the bushes near Beta Bridge. As the woman ran towards Virginia Avenue, the subject followed her until she made it safely inside, at which point he left in an unknown direction. The young woman made the call after safely arriving at a residence in the 1500 block of Virginia Ave.
The community alert describes the subject as a male who is 30 to 40 years old, 5’9” to 5’10” in height and 150 to 170 pounds in weight. At the time of pursuit, he was wearing a light colored long sleeve shirt, khaki pants and a white hat.
This is the fifth community alert sent to the University community by Longo since the beginning of the fall semester. All four prior community alerts were sent in reference to shots fired incidents — the first occurred on the 300 block of Paton Street Aug. 30, the second on the 500 block of 12 Street NW Sept. 1 and the most recent at the intersection of 8th Street and Page Street on Wednesday. The third incident involved an innocent bystander being struck inadvertently by a round fired through the bathroom wall of Boylan Heights on Sept. 4.
Following the Boylan Heights shooting last Wednesday, University President Jim Ryan sent an email to the University community detailing the importance of the community alert system in protecting students and Charlottesville residents.
“This is how most members of our community learned of this incident Saturday morning, as well as the arrest of one suspect and the ongoing search for a suspect in another case,” the email read. “This system provides timely information to help community members stay safe in the event of a threat – it is important for all community members to monitor these alerts closely.”
Given the five community alerts issued since the start of the semester, the University has increased University Police Department personnel patrolling areas of Charlottesville near Grounds. Additional University Ambassadors have also been placed in areas on and off Grounds to help students quickly if necessary. In the coming weeks, the safety and security team will meet and bring recommendations of additional safety measures to Ryan.
“Community alerts” are shared with the University community when there is sufficient and timely information that can be released to the community without compromising any on-going investigations. “Timely warnings” are sent when crimes committed pose an “on-going threat” to the safety of the community.”