Female student raped at gunpoint at the University of Utah, suspect at-large

Posted at 3:10 PM, Oct 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-01 00:22:26-04

SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah police are looking for a suspect in connection with an aggravated rape that occurred on campus Monday afternoon.

According to U of U Police Sergeant Garth Smith, the rape occurred around 12:15 p.m. in the parking lot of the Merrill Engineering Building.

He said the student left class and approached her car at the north end of the parking lot, when the suspect forced the woman into her vehicle.

"He held her at gunpoint, told her to get in the back seat. Then, that's where he raped her," Sgt. Smith said.

The suspect, he said, then left the parking lot on foot.

Police searched campus for the man, but found nothing.

"All we know right now... the description-- which is six foot tall, wearing all black and wearing a Grim Reaper-style mask," Sgt. Smith explained.

The university is offering escorts to walk students to and from buildings and cars, as they always do 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The student went to the hospital to be checked.

Faculty and students on campus said they were shocked to hear of the incident-- especially those who park in the parking lot every day.

"I was just surprised, and I talked with my colleagues... and they're all surprised," said PHD student Yusuf Jameel. "It's really something that has made me sad, but also has made me vigilant."

"This parking lot is usually pretty full, and you got students coming in and out all the time," said faculty member Jared Lloyd. "That something like could happen here on campus, especially in broad daylight. It was something that was scary."

Anyone with information that may help police in their investigation is urged to call (801) 585-2677.