A string of four armed robberies in three weeks on the Health Sciences Campus has left medical school students and visitors concerned for their safety.
Medical school student Huma Nargis regularly parks near the 500 block of Marshall Street, where three of four of the robberies have occurred.
“Looking at the current circumstances, I feel like it has become a necessity for the students to be on guard at all times,” said Nargis. “It is also unfortunate to hear that students that have come from around the States have to be concerned about their safety being jeopardized at their place of education.”
Some students travel from the Belknap campus to study at the medical school’s Kornhauser Library. The recent robberies have biology major Mahnoor Khudadad rethinking going there.
“I’m not going to lie, that has made me more skeptical on venturing further out on campus, let alone to another campus,” said Khudadad. “I probably would not be going there as often because I feel that the friends I usually go with would be less willing to go as well.”
U of L Assistant Chief of Police Kenny Brown said that ULPD maintained and increased patrols at HSC after the first robbery. LMPD has also increased patrols.
“Obviously, safety is of great concern,” said LMPD spokesperson Dwight Mitchell. “Certainly it can be dangerous anywhere.” Mitchell noted that the HSC had been relatively safe for a while prior to the recent increase in robberies.
Mitchell said he has heard of students taking extra precautions to avoid crime in light of the robberies. He recommends parking in well-lit areas, walking in groups and remaining diligent to avoid crime.
Louisville Metro Police are investigating the incidents, which they believe are connected. They brought in a suspect for questioning after the last robbery on Monday.
The suspect, whose name has not been released, allegedly tried to rob a dental school employee Monday morning on the corner of Liberty and Jackson Streets. According to Mitchell, both parties then exchanged gunfire.
Mitchell said charges have not been placed on the suspect in custody. He said that first degree robbery and first degree criminal mischief are the most likely charges if the current suspect is charged.
“Very similar” methods of operation at each robbery have led police to connecting the incidents, said Mitchell. He said that they are still interviewing witnesses to find out more definitive reasons.
The victim suffered non-life threatening injuries after the shooting. It is unclear why he had a gun in his possession.
University policy forbids carrying weapons on university property. U of L spokesperson Mark Hebert said the employee was not on HSC property at the time of the shootout. If the gun had been brought on HSC and found, Brown says that consequences would most likely be determined by the supervisor.
Monday’s shootout was the fourth armed robbery near the HSC since July 10. All victims were either U of L employees or students.
Graphic by Simon Isham