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University of Maryland, Baltimore president 'deeply disturbed' by campus crimes

University of Maryland, Baltimore president 'deeply disturbed' by campus crimes
(Jed Kirschbaum / Baltimore Sun)

The president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus said he is "deeply disturbed" by two crimes reported against members of the campus community Monday night and will hold a public safety town hall next week.

The incidents -- a robbery of a nursing student and an attempted robbery of a hospital employee -- have prompted campus police to add additional police and security officers, who will wear reflective vests on foot or on Segways, President Jay A. Perman said in an e-mail to employees and students. Patrols cars will display flashing lights "As another sign of police presence," he said.

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Last month, a hospital employee was shot and killed near the hospital after police said he was used as a "human shield" in gang shooting that also left another man dead. The employee, Brandon Finney, was waiting for a bus.

Perman said that he and campus police chief Antonio Williams will hold a town hall on Oct. 14, in Pharmacy Hall at 10 a.m.

"I want you to know that university leadership takes your safety very seriously, and that we are working hard to improve security," Perman said in the e-mail.

Earlier, campus police said a female nursing student was walking in the 100 block of N. Greene St. at about 10:28 p.m. on Monday when three males walked up to her. One of them pulled out a handgun and took her cell phone, duffel bag, and cash. The student was not injured.

In the second incident, campus police said a female employee of the hospital was walking in the 500 block of W. Pratt St. at about 7:45 p.m. when a man came tried to grab her book bag as she walked by. The force caused her to turn around and she came face-to-face with the suspect, who grabbed her face by cupping her chin, the report says. The suspect then fled without her property. She was not injured.

In the Greene Street incident, police described the suspects as black males, each six feet tall. Two wore gray sweats and dark-colored hooded sweatshirts, while the third wore "dark nylon sweat pants with a stripe."

In the Pratt Street incident, police said the suspect was a black male, about 5-foot-9 to 5-foot-10, between 30 and 40 years old, wearing blue jeans, a flannel shirt, and a dark hooded sweatshirt.

In his email, Perman urged students and staff to take advantage of a police escort service, but also reminded them to be aware of their surroundings and report suspicious activity.

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