Student safe after abduction by gunman

What started as a routine walk home from a bar turned into a nightmare for one GW student Saturday morning.

At 2 a.m. Saturday, a male driver allegedly forced a freshman into his car at gunpoint at 18th and G streets, according to a University Police crime alert posted around campus Sunday. The student was walking home alone from The Exchange, a popular bar at 1719 G St.

The driver, a white male calling himself “Dan,” proceeded to drive around D.C. in a bizarre abduction that lasted about 20 minutes before the student was returned unharmed to Foggy Bottom.

In an interview Sunday night, the freshman said the driver talked about his personal problems, which revolved around his childhood and that he hated his parents. He also mentioned that he was abused.

“He was a weird, crazy guy, so I was scared,” said the student, a Thurston Hall resident who requested anonymity because he still feared the driver. “He was pretty unpredictable. He didn’t seem stable, mentally.”

“I really wasn’t paying attention,” he added. “I had a lot going through my mind.”

The student, who said he is unfamiliar with city streets, said the man drove along roads near the Potomac River. Eventually, the driver asked about the freshman’s personal difficulties. Since he didn’t want to seem unconcerned about the driver’s problems, the student said he lied, telling him that he hated his parents and recently broke up with his girlfriend.

“I was just making (things) up,” he said.

After listening to the freshman’s made-up problems, the driver made him call his parents. The driver, “trying to be sympathetic” to the student’s problems, spoke to his father.

“He told my dad that he was helping me out and he told my dad that he picked me up on a highway off-ramp,” he said. “I don’t know where he got that.”

After about 20 minutes in the car, the driver told the student that he would drop him off near Thurston. As the student exited the vehicle, at 18th and F streets, the driver told him, “You’re pretty cool, man. I thought you were a stuck-up prick. I was planning on killing you.”

Later that night, the student reported the abduction to UPD, which issued a crime alert Sunday. According to the alert, the driver is a 35 to 45 year-old white male with long brown hair and brown eyes. He is approximately 6 feet tall and was wearing a rust-colored T-shirt and jeans Saturday morning. The 1980s model vehicle is described as a dark-colored, four-door sedan.

Metropolitan Police and UPD have no reason to believe that the driver will return to Foggy Bottom, GW Media Relations director Tracy Schario said.

Schario urged students to use 4-Ride when walking on or near campus. The escort service, which operates between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m., transports students anywhere on or within two blocks of campus.

“Everyone should be more vigilant when walking late at night,” Schario said.

The freshman, for his part, said the abduction has not made him wary of walking alone on city streets late at night.

“I would walk home again in the same situation,” he said.

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