U of M student sexually assaulted after being attacked while scraping snow off car

The University of Minnesota has issued a crime alert about a sexual assault that occurred in the campus area around 12:45 a.m. this morning.

According to the alert, a student was scraping snow off her car in a parking lot near 8th Street SE and 13th Avenue SE when a suspect "approached from behind and sprayed her in the face with a chemical irritant."

She was sexually assaulted before the suspect fled southbound through a nearby alley. He remains on the loose.

A description provided by the victim as well as an image captured by a campus camera indicate the suspect a white male between 5-10 and 6-1 with a medium build. He was wearing a black hoodie and black sweatpants with three white stripes on the side at the time of the assault.

Grady Fox and Walker MacSwain said they were sitting in their living room around 1:00 a.m. when their former neighbor started banging on their window. When they opened the door, the found the victim distraught with bruises on her face saying she had just been raped.

"It was just completely rattling. I was awestruck. We were getting ready to go to bed and she was there and we just immediately helped her as fast as we could," Fox said.

"She said she was going to the car to go pick up her friend and this guy ran up to her, covered his face, sprayed her in the eyes, and it all happened in flash. After that and she said the first chance she had to get away, she ran here," Fox said.

Third crime alert since Feb. 16

Today's crime alert marks the third time since February 16 that university officials have released a crime alert about incidents involving criminal sexual conduct, though a U of M official tells us that stranger rape incidents like this one are very unusual. There were no crime alerts for criminal sexual conduct issued this school year before February 16. 

"It's a violent attack, it really is, and it's unusual. The U of M is a safe place to be but reminds us all that we should all take safety precautions when we are out at night after dark try to be with somebody, especially if we are going to be off the street," Cmdr. Bruce Folkens said.

Do you have information?

Anyone with information about this morning's incident is asked to call the Minneapolis Police Tip Line at 612-692-8477. The case number if MP-15-099682.

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