Another student attacked

Evan Hessel

A female Northwestern student told police she was attacked by an unidentified man with a knife early Thursday morning, the second reported attack on a female student in two days.

The student, a Weinberg junior who asked to remain anonymous, was walking from her car to her apartment on the 1000 block of Dempster Street between 4:00 and 4:30 a.m. Thursday when she was attacked.

After leaving her car at the intersection of Oak Avenue and Greenwood Street, the student reached into her purse for a pack of cigarettes and dropped several items, she said. While bent over, gathering the contents of her purse, she felt a knife press against her back as a man covered her mouth with his hand and told her not to scream, she said.

The student tried to call for help as the man dragged her towards an alley running parallel to Oak Avenue but was silenced by the attacker’s hand, she said.

“I expected him to ask for my purse or my money, but he just dragged me away,” she said.

As they approached the alley, the headlights of a car traveling towards them flashed on the side wall of the alley, prompting the man to release the girl and run north on Oak Avenue, leaving her standing at the mouth of the alley.

Police said they are investigating the incident. The student didn’t inform police of the attack until Thursday afternoon.

The entire attack lasted about two minutes, during which she was unable to see her attacker’s face, she said.

Thursday’s attack follows a similar incident that occurred the previous morning when another female student was sexually assaulted in the area of Emerson Street and Maple Avenue, near Engelhart Hall.

The victim of Wednesday’s assault said a black male about 6-feet-2-inches tall and weighing about 190 pounds grabbed her from behind and attempted to drag her into a dark area behind the building, said Lt. Joseph Bellino of EPD. The man was described as in his late 20s, with a high-pitched voice, and wearing baggy pants and a three-quarter-length black leather coat. Police on Thursday did not say the two incidents were related.

Wednesday’s assailant released the student when she saw an EPD patrol car and yelled for help around 1:30 a.m.

Police reports from both incidents have been passed on to EPD’s investigative division as detectives are looking for suspects, Sgt. James Stonequist of EPD said.

The student attacked Thursday morning did not contact EPD until about 12 p.m. Thursday. She originally did not plan to contact police, but changed her mind after her roommate reminded her that another female student was attacked the night before.

During her first call to the department, the student spoke to a civilian receptionist, who said an officer would contact her within a few hours to talk about the attack. At 2:30 p.m., the student had yet to hear from EPD and left for class, deciding to go to the department after class, she said.

At EPD, she recounted the attack for an officer, who told her detectives would contact her in a few days.

Thursday’s attack draws more attention to Evanston’s lighting system, which leaves some areas completely dark.

“I’m always paranoid around here because it’s really dark,” she said.

The section of Oak Avenue where Thursday’s attack initially occurred is poorly lit, allowing the attacker to approach her unnoticed, she said.