Tennessee: University of Memphis Student Carjacked at Gunpoint
Memphis Police said a car with four masked men blocked the student’s vehicle with theirs and one of the suspects pointed a gun at her.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A University of Memphis student was carjacked at gunpoint Thursday night near a residence hall on campus.
The student was getting into her vehicle after class near Ellington Hall when a blue sedan pulled up and blocked her in around 7:47 p.m., reports Fox 13.
“The guy rolled down the window and was like, ‘Can you teach me how to drive?’ and I thought that was kinda weird,” the student recalled. “I said, ‘No, I’m just trying to get out of here and get home.”
Memphis Police said four men wearing masks were inside the vehicle. One of the suspects, who was wearing a red sweatshirt, pointed the gun at the victim and demanded she get out of her car.
“I really thought he was about to shoot me,” the victim said. “He had the gun right here on my chest. I’d already gotten out of the car. Like, my hands were up and all of my stuff was in there. I just thought he was about to kill me.”
The victim said the suspects “didn’t look old at all” and that the one carrying the gun “looked definitely under 18.” Campus officials said University Police Services is working with local authorities to identify and apprehend the suspects.
The incident led to students voicing concerns regarding safety and security on campus. The Memphis Police Department has responded to more than 100 criminal incidents on campus so far this year, according to WREG. Campus police have responded to 11 incidents so far this month, ranging from burglary and motor vehicle theft to simple assault.
“It’s kind of scary because they say they have a lot of cameras but people do this all the time,” a student told ABC24. “There was a girl over here who got her car broken into as well.”
The carjacking victim said the school is “really on point” with giving out parking tickets but that it “shouldn’t be our focus.”
“This happened within five minutes and the fact that nobody was around — I would just like to have more cars patrolling and paying attention,” she said. “It’s supposed to be safe. I want this campus to be lit up like a football stadium. It’s just way too dark.”
In August, university officials announced a $5 million investment in securing the campus and surrounding areas. The upgrades, which will be overseen by the school’s Office of Planning and Design, include increased perimeter fencing, improved parking lot access controls, increased LED lighting, and enhanced 24/7 camera monitoring.
Student Richard Massey said that while more needs to be done to improve campus safety, additional outside support is needed.
“The safety concerns on this campus and carjackings have been persistent since my tenure here — I’m a sophomore,” he said. “I believe that the university has really maximized its resources. At this point, it’s become a state issue. [We] have laws being implemented of the likes of guns in trucks, laws such as permitless carry. It’s really incentivized these carjackings more than anything.”
Anyone with information regarding the four carjacking suspects is urged to call CrimeStoppers at 901-528-2274. The victim’s vehicle is a 2019 Hyundai with Tennessee plate number BKJ1548.
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