Neighborhood on alert after student attack

August 10, 2009 5:20:15 PM PDT
A neighborhood is on alert after a violent attack on a Duke University student.The incident happened early Sunday morning on Watts Street -- just a short walk from Duke's East Campus.

The student is recovering from a shot to his stomach while police search for the gunman.

Watts Street is especially popular for parents with small children. But one mom, who asked not to be identified, is concerned after hearing about the attack.

"I was scared, just trying to find out as much as I could about it," the mom and Watts neighborhood resident told Eyewitness News.

Police say the attack happened just past midnight as the two victims were walking down the 500 of Watts. A man approached the pair from behind, told them to put their hand on their heads and started to search them.

There was a struggle and moments later, the gun went off.

Police describe the weapon as a pellet gun, but it packed enough punch to send the student to the hospital where he remains Monday.

That concerns some residents.

"I hear things happening all the time," the unidentified resident said. "I've called 911 numerous times in the past six months because I've heard gunshots. I've seen suspicious activity in the neighborhood."

Investigators are not naming the weekend victims but confirm the injured man is a male Duke student who was walking with a woman.

"I put myself in that position and think, what would I do, if I were in that situation, to keep from being in that situation?" she asked. "What I would do is throw my purse, throw my belongings, run in the other direction, [and] scream."

The investigation is ongoing. Police describe the suspect as a stocky man about 5'11", approximately 40 years old and bulging eyes.

The suspect may have been injured during the struggle with the victim. Investigators say the gunman limped away after the attack.


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