Two robbers assaulted a lone male student Tuesday evening near a Palmetto South apartment building.
Although a string of robberies occurred during homecoming week, Florida A&M University Police Department officials say this is the first robbery since late October.
As Christopher Bryant talked on his cell phone around 8:45 p.m., two males came from around the corner and one held a gun to his neck. They asked him to get on the ground and drop his cell phone, but because they looked like regular students and he wasn’t sure if the gun was real, he “looked at them like ‘are you crazy?'” and began to walk away.
They then pushed him against a nearby wall and when he pushed back, one of them pistol whipped him and assaulted him in the eye. They stole his wallet and fled the scene.
Bryant, 19, a sophomore business administration student from Detroit, said he then went to the Palmetto South office and reported the incident. FAMU PD officers arrived shortly after and with the victim, searched the Palmetto South apartments door to door to see if Bryant could idntify the suspects.
The police did not find anyone, and the case is currently under investigation along with the previous rash of robberies.
Bryant went to the hospital Tuesday night to get his eye examined, and he returned home Wednesday. Monique Gillum, one of Bryant’s friends, said he was in “very good spirits” the night of the crime, and was “doing okay.”
Gillum, 19, a sophomore political science student from Gainesville, and Bryant, are both senators in the Student Government Association.
Bryant said the two males looked like students, which he believes is “adding to another statistic among black males.” He said if they attended FAMU why would they want to steal from one of their fellow students?
As a student leader the incident brings the concern “what can we do and when will the faculty step in,” Gillum said.
“Safety is a big issue on our campus-this is not the first robbery,” she said. “I have a lot of friends who live in Palmetto and it (crime) poses a real safety issue, especially for those who don’t have cars.” She said as the crimes on campus escalate, the situation leads some students to ask “What if?” “What if I was there?”
“That shouldn’t be,” Gillum said. “Students should feel safe (on campus).”
Although no one was watching the apartment building at the time of the crime, Assistant FAMU PD Police Chief James W. Lockley Jr., said officers had patrolled the area before the incident.
Gillum said it concerned her that no police were patrolling at the time of the robbery.
It poses the question, “Where is the police, where is our security?” Gillum said.
In contrast, Lockley said because of the increase of robberies last month, more officers are patrolling on foot, as well as in police vehicles. FAMU PD officers continued to survey the Palmetto South area Wednesday night.
Lockley said he has noticed a heightened awareness of many students on campus “We’ve been getting cooperation from the student body as a whole and we want that to continue,” he said.
Lockley said this is a time when crime increases because it gets dark earlier. Lockley pointed out that this incident occurred before midnight. Crime usually occurs when it’s dark outside, not necessarily late during the night, he said.
As the weather gets cooler, Lockley said he advises students to be cautious because people can conceal weapons in their coats or jackets. He said he wants students to be aware of their surroundings “by all means,” and to report suspicious activities to FAMU PD.
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