GW has beefed up security at Duques and Funger Halls this week in response to a bizarre and violent attack on a graduate student last Friday.
One police officer has been stationed at the complex during open hours, and patrols in the area have increased this week, School of Business Dean Susan Phillips said. The additional security will occur on a trial basis, and will be reevaulated Friday by Phillips and University Police Chief Dolores Stafford.
“It’s an open building, which students like because they can study, but we have to make sure students are safe,” Phillips said, adding that there would be a “heightened patrol” because of the incident and midterms.
The attack, in which a man hit a graduate student on the head with a hammer while the victim was using a urinal, occurred on the building’s second floor, according to police reports. The attacker is visible on security tape but has not been located, and police are trying to develop a lead on what both the Metropolitan Police Department and UPD are calling a “random act of violence.”
MPD Lt. Norman Power said that though officers are actively investigating the assault, he could not currently release extra information because there is still a suspect at large. Power did say the department is working with UPD to investigate the crime, and they are “continually getting tips and following up on them.”
Phillips said Duques and Funger already had an increased police presence due to midterms, and the “overall presence” of security would be increased until Friday.
“The students and staff were understandably shaken up by the assault and we are taking the necessary precautions,” Stafford said in an e-mail.
A GW Infomail announcing the decision to add security was sent to the GW community Monday evening, and said that UPD had received “some helpful information from members of the GW community after they saw the picture of the subject.” UPD is working with the MPD to try to develop a lead in the case, the Infomail said.
Stafford did not respond to questions about the assailant, who fled the area after the attack, according to police reports.
In a statement over the weekend, MPD Commander Matthew Klein said the incident was isolated but did not provide any additional information about the many questions remaining about the violent on-campus incident and its alleged perpetrator.
The student, whose name is being withheld because he was the victim of an assault, was taken to GW Hospital and treated for a three-inch gash on the back of his head, according to the police report. Police say he did not know his attacker, and the student was released later that day.
Monday’s Infomail also addressed a handful of delayed Infomails sent out the day of the attack. The Infomail said last week’s alerts were delayed because the physical descriptions of the attacker from the victim and eyewitnesses “were inconsistent.”
The suspect has beem determined to be between the ages of 20 and 40, bald, possibly Middle Eastern, tall, stocky and wearing capri pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Police also distributed images from security footage in Duques.
Lauren French contributed to this report.