Johnson City

Campus reacts to armed robbery

Campus reacts to armed robbery

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - The search continues for the suspect in an armed robbery on the campus of East Tennessee State University.

This is actually the second armed robbery on ETSU's campus this school year. The first one happened in October. We're told a suspect was arrested.

We're told the latest robbery happened in the middle of campus, in a well-lit area.

It seems to be business as usual at ETSU on Wednesday, but when you stop and talk to students it's easy to see some are on alert.  "What if it happened to me on campus? Would I be able to protect myself?" asked student Hannah McNeill.

Campus police tell us it happened just before 2 a.m. Wednesday, when a man with a gun approached two students walking back to their dorms from an off-campus restaurant.

The victims say the suspect demanded the students empty their pockets and then walk away.

Soon after, a campus-wide alert went out to warn students and staff. "We wanted to give what information we had about the suspect, which has been very, very limited," says campus spokesperson Joe Smith.

Students we talked to were glad the alert came out so quickly. "I'm really glad about the alert system. My roommate, he's usually out at the time. When I got the text I rolled over to make sure he was in bed, I was going to let him know," says student Seth Ritchie.

Without a suspect in custody, some students are cautious as they go to and from their classes, especially night classes. "It's concerning to know that I'm by myself and something like this happens where I go to class every day," adds student Rachel Negrone.

Others say they will change their schedule altogether because of this incident. "I know I'm probably not going to take night classes anymore," adds McNeill.

The victims tell police the suspect is a black man, around 5'8", with a scruffy beard and mustache. Police are asking anyone with information to give them a call.

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