TJC Police: Weekend sexual assault 'not a random act'

Tyler, Texas (KYTX) -- Tyler Junior College students aren't taking news of a sexual assault on campus lightly.

"It kind of makes me nervous, but I carry around pepper spray to protect myself, and you never know what's going to happen," Brittany Wilkinson, a student at TJC, said.

Wilkinson has a class at Tyler Junior College that let's out after dark, but says she's always been a cautious person.

"I'm very aware of my surroundings and that's when I take my pepper spray, whenever I know I'm going to be here late," Wilkinson said.

Tyler Junior College Police came to East Texas Medical Center Sunday evening after the patient first made allegations.

Brandee Laredo, who also has class in the evenings, believes there is safety in numbers. "I see a lot of girls hanging out by the dorms and just kind of lounging around in the student area, but usually they have someone with them," Laredo said.

TJC Police now believe the assault wasn't random. Students say that goes to show not all attackers are strangers.

"You surely know that you can't just trust everyone that you come in contact with. We're in a college setting and everything should be taken into consideration," Laredo said.

Laredo says it makes her feel better to always see police patrolling the area, with extra eyes watching out for crime.


TYLER (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - Tyler Junior College police say the reported sexual assault of a female student in her dorm was not a random act.

"Based upon an interview with the student, Campus Police now believe the alleged assault was not a random event and that there is no threat to others in the TJC community. Details of the reported assault are unclear, including the location, time, place and the description of the alleged perpetrator," Fred Peters, TJC spokesperson, said.
Peters said officers were requested at East Texas Medical Center Sunday evening by Tyler Police, who were called after the arrival of a patient.

"TJC issued a "timely warning" notice to the campus community via emergency text, email and social media as soon as preliminary details were provided by initial interviews with the student and her relatives," he said.

Police are continuing to piece together a timeline of events related to the alleged assault, including the whereabouts of the student and others whom she came in contact with Saturday night and early Sunday morning. Video surveillance is aiding in the investigation, TJC Police Chief Randy Melton said.

The woman originally told police the suspect was a tall black male weighing about 300 pounds.

TJC President Dr. Mike Metke said students, employees and visitors to TJC facilities should be confident of their safety.

"I continue to hear positive comments from parents, students and employees about the measures we take each day to ensure the safety of everyone who comes in contact with TJC," he said.

Metke said the main campus has more than 300 cameras that are monitored throughout each day and utilized in numerous investigations.


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