A Duke senior robbed at gunpoint over the weekend remains in the hospital and no charges have been filed in the case, a Durham Police Department spokesperson wrote in an e-mail today.
It is now unclear what kind of gun was used in the robbery. The Chronicle originally reported that the student was shot with a pellet gun, based on a a Duke press release. Durham Police, however, say they do not know what kind of firearm was used.
Duke University Police Department Maj. Gloria Graham said she does not know how the weapon was identified in the Duke press release, but that information provided by the Durham Police Department is "the most up to date and accurate," because DPD is handling the investigation.
Duke and Durham Police may pay extra attention to the area where the attack occurred, near the intersection of Trinity Avenue and Watts Street, when they increase patrolling during the first two weeks of school, Graham said, noting that this area of the Trinity Park Neighborhood is not a "hot spot" for crime. In 2009, there have been five robberies (including this one and the armed robbery of a Duke student in April) and one assault within a quarter-mile of the intersection, according to DPD Crime Mapper data.
As the investigation into Saturday's attack continues, leaders of the communities affected by the violence have been reaching out to their residents. The Trinity Park Neighborhood Association is holding a meeting tonight with DPD to discuss the crime and neighborhood safety, The Durham Herald-Sun reported.
Meanwhile, undergraduates received an e-mail today about the armed robbery from Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta. The message was intended to have been sent Sunday to all graduate and undergraduate students.
"Last night, sometime after midnight, a student was assaulted as he was walking back to his apartment", Moneta wrote in the e-mail. "The assault took place on Watts Street near the intersection with Trinity Ave. It has been reported that the assailant had a weapon which was discharged in the struggle. Though the student was injured, he is expected to fully recover."
In an interview with The Chronicle, Moneta said a computer problem—possibly caused by a mistake he made in sending Sunday's e-mail—prevented undergraduates from receiving it, though graduate students got the notice. He apologized for the delay in today's email.
Because Moneta's e-mail was written Sunday, before more accurate information was available, it cites an incorrect time for the incident. The armed robbery actually occurred just before midnight Saturday, DPD Public Information Officer Kammie Michael said Monday (The original DPD press release said the attack occurred Sunday).
Moneta's e-mail also includes general safety tips for students, many of whom will be returning to campus next week for the Fall semester:
1. Avoid risky behavior. Don't walk alone at night or in unfamiliar areas. Avoid alcohol and drugs. Stay with people you trust.
2. Be alert, walk confidently and make eye contact. If someone has negative intentions, making eye contact might deter them because they realize you can identify them.
3. If you’re being followed, go to the nearest populated, well-lit location and call 911. Do not go home. If you’re walking, cross the street away from the person and go somewhere such as a convenient store. If you’re driving, you can go to the Duke Hospital emergency room or Duke Police headquarters at 502 Oregon St.
4. Report suspicious activity immediately. Trust your instincts. If you see a person who isn’t typically in your area of campus and they’re acting suspicious, call Duke Police at 684-2444 or dial 911.
5. Do not leave personal property unattended. Laptops, backpacks and purses, or cell phones are easy items to steal. What they contain is difficult to replace.
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