September 12, 2013 10:12:18 AM
Carl Smith - [email protected]
Mississippi State University police officers were investigating an attempted, on-campus abduction Wednesday night, but no clear details were available on the situation.
MSU sent out a Maroon Alert at 11:39 p.m. Wednesday about a possible attempted abduction behind Sessums Hall, a housing unit at the school. The university followed that alert with another which said, "At approximately 11 p.m. a female reported to MSUPD that they were walking behind Sessums when an unidentified African American male attempted to grab them."
A 12:08 a.m. Maroon Alert said the suspect released the victim and ran toward the Burger King located on campus. That same alert said the suspect was wearing a gray shirt. No other descriptions were released by MSU on Wednesday night.
MSUPD was on the scene and investigating the incident, according to the last update issued at 12:11 a.m.
A MSUPD dispatcher could not verify if the university's crisis action team had convened Wednesday after the incident was reported.
An Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Department dispatcher could not verify if the department was assisting MSUPD in the investigation late Wednesday.
Sid Salter, director of university relations at MSU, said this morning the Maroon Alert has since been taken down and the investigation is continuing. Salter said a witness near Sessums Hall reportedly saw the attacker jump from between two cars, grab the female and throw her over his shoulder as he began running. When the victim screamed, a male student rushed to her aid. The alleged attacker then released the woman and ran.
Salter stressed that the alleged abduction was an "isolated incident."
"All of our students are present and accounted for. We have no injuries reported," Salter said. "We urge all of our students, faculty and staff to exercise a normal amount of caution in walking across the campus at night."
In addition to MSUPD, there are several organizations on campus that will escort students to their car, Salter said.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch