By Kyeland Jackson —
Two university students narrowly avoided becoming carjacking victims Thursday night.
Suspects allegedly attempted to carjack the students at around 11:30 p.m. outside The Clubhouse Apartments. The students were seated in their car when two black males, one armed with a handgun, approached the vehicle. The suspect tapped the car window with the gun, as the other approached, before the student drove away and met with UPLD officers.
Ten minutes before the students avoided a carjacking, other area residents were not so lucky.
Louisville Metro Police responded to a carjacking near Bardstown Road, about five miles from campus. The victims were parked on the 2000 block of Spring Drive when two black males approached. The suspects, matching the description of the same two who attempted to carjack university students later, demanded the victims’ keys and property. Taking the victims’ 2015 Jeep Compass, phone and purses, the suspects drove away.
At around 11:30 p.m., minutes after the U of L students escaped, an LMPD officer spotted a 2015 Jeep Compass matching the carjacked vehicle.
The officer called for backup before arresting three black males who exited the vehicle. Two were juveniles. The third suspect, Seth Irakoze, is 18. He is being charged with two counts of robbery, one count of wanton endangerment and one count of criminal mischief. Charges against the juveniles are still pending.
Irakoze was found armed with a handgun and items matching the stolen property from the first victim. Irakoze’s next hearing is set for Oct. 25, with bond set at $100,000.
The University of Louisville Police Department publicized the incident, circulating an email to the university community. ULPD Chief Wayne Hall issued a statement after the arrest.
“We are pleased that the U of L Police Department and Louisville Metro Police Department were able to work together to quickly apprehend the suspects in this case. Student, faculty and staff safety is our top priority at U of L,” Hall said. “As always following a criminal activity, we will review the incident and determine appropriate steps to help ensure our students’ safety.”
The crimes come less than a month after student safety was endangered by violent sexual assaults near campus. Two victims were sexually assaulted blocks away from U of L.
One victim, a university student, was abducted just outside the Bellamy apartments. The three suspects involved have since been arrested, and ULPD security remains tight on the North end of campus. However, some students still felt unsafe.
A Louisville Cardinal Twitter poll issued shortly after the assaults found 60 percent of respondents do not feel safe on or around campus. Twenty-two percent were not concerned. Communication between LMPD and ULPD strained safety concerns, with university police being informed days after the arrest of the first suspect. ULPD Lt. Col. Kenny Brown said the two departments will try to streamline communications.
“The communication between ULPD and LMPD is very good. We exchange information all the time,” Brown said after a suspect’s arrest for the sexual assaults. “But any time we have an incident, we always want to sit down and review how the university looks at its communications and how communications is handled so we can be more effective the next time.”
If you see suspicious activity, ULPD urges students call 852-6111.
Photo by Kyeland Jackson / The Louisville Cardinal