Published Wed, Feb 20, 2013 12:37 am Dateline
Updated Wed, Feb 20, 2013 1:40 pm
The female Ohio University student allegedly robbed of $5 by an armed man at an Athens apartment complex is speaking for the first time about the January incident that resulted in the university's closure.
The search for an armed fugitive began around 10 a.m. on January 30 after a 25-year-old graduate psychology student notified the Athens Police Department that she had been robbed at gunpoint in the parking lot of Station Street Apartments.
The Athens police report indicated that the perpetrator allegedly carried a semiautomatic handgun, information which was deduced from the victim’s recounts of the crime.
“I gave them a description of what I saw, and that was what their assessment of the type of weapon that it was,” said the victim, who wished to remain anonymous.
She said the perpetrator, which she described as a black male in his thirties dressed in a blue hooded sweatshirt, approached her from behind as she was taking trash to the dumpster.
“I turned around and he’s there with this gun and just says, ‘Get back there,’ pointing behind the dumpster. I’m thinking 'This is it. Something terrible is about to happen to me.'”
After first calling her roommates, the victim said she called Athens police, who arrived within minutes. The student said she was impressed with the manner in which law enforcement conducted their investigation throughout the morning.
“Even the police were telling me, ‘You know, we have never really gotten calls like this,’” the victim said.
By 12 p.m., OU officials announced the closure of the university for the remainder of the day. Some students and staff have criticized the decision, but the victim said she thinks it was the right thing to do.
“For all we know, they did prevent someone [from] actually getting injured because no news is good news on that front,” she said.
While many students were pleased to have a day off from class, the gun robbery did not prevent everyone from walking the streets of Athens.
A number of the bars on Court Street opened early and were filled with students eager to celebrate what was dubbed on Twitter with hashtags like "#FugitiveFest" and "#GunDayFunDay." The Red Brick Tavern even featured special $3 blue fugitive shots in honor of the robbery.
While some students and members of the community found the mockery distasteful, the victim said she didn't think it was such a big deal.
“I kind of liked it," said the victim in response to the "#FugitiveFest" hashtag. "I’m kind of glad they took what could have been a potentially awful, scary thing and turned it into a fest in true OU fashion.”
As the university begins to enact new safety measures on campus, the student involved in the robbery said she's recovered from the traumatic incident.
She said she has two years left before completing her degree and has no plans to move.
“It could have been anywhere," she said. "What are the odds that it would be me again anyway?”
The victim said she has lived at Station Street Apartments for the past three years.
This article was contributed by Charles Dornfeld.