Pack Of 15 Savage Black Beasts Brutally Beat And Rob Pesdestrians On Virginia Commonwealth University Campus In Richmond


RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – Police are searching today for a group of about 15 young people believed to have punched one passerby and robbed and beaten another in rapid succession on Virginia Commonwealth University’s main downtown Richmond campus.

Neither victim was seriously injured in the two attacks, which happened along Shafer Street on the Monroe Park campus about 2:55 a.m.

VCU and Richmond police described the assailants as a group of 15 black males between the ages of 17 and 22.

“Last night there was a tremendous amount of activity in this area between the hours of 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.,” VCU Police Chief John Venuti said at a morning news conference.

The first victim, who is not a VCU student, reported being punched without provocation by a member of the group while getting out of a vehicle at Shafer and West Grace streets.

Moments later, the group encountered the second victim, a VCU student, at Shafer and West Franklin streets. The student told police one member of the group made a comment about his boots before he was punched in the back of the head and knocked to the ground.

Once on the ground, the student was allegedly was told by one of the assailants, “Give me everything you’ve got.” The student was punched again, this time in the neck, and a pack of cigarettes was stolen from his pants pocket, police said.

The assailants were last seen heading south through Shafer Court.

The attacks came just days after students had returned to campus for the start of the fall semester and at a time when VCU Police Chief John Venuti is undertaking several measures to increase security. Classes start today, a university spokesman said.

“This is not the start of the semester that we were looking for,” Venuti said. “We’re constantly in the process of deploying a lot of resources to this area, in conjunction with the Richmond Police Department, to minimize the victimization of our students.”

Venuti added that the department provides “a lot of information” to students, faculty and staff on reducing the chances of becoming a victim of a crime.

Several students walking through campus near the sites of the attacks late Wednesday morning said they were unaware of what had happened.

However, senior Briana Russell, a 23-year-old English major from Chantilly, said she wasn’t surprised.

“They are obligated to report crimes and we get them almost every day,” she said. “A lot of my friends have gotten mugged or held up.”

Freshmen roommates Justin Clary, 17-year-old from Colonial Heights, and John Navis, 18, from New Kent, also said they hadn’t seen the alert from campus officials. However, both said they had been given plenty of instruction about safety on campus, including avoiding walking around in unlit areas late at night by themselves.

“I feel like if you’re smart around here, you don’t have to worry about anything,” said Clary, who plans to major in biology.

The department is hiring 10 new officers, which would expand the force to 92, including some who will patrol on bicycles, and has hired G4S, a private security firm, to patrol at night in sport utility vehicles with flashing yellow lights. Venuti also is overseeing upgrades in VCU’s video surveillance capabilities on campus.

Venuti wouldn’t say how many officers were working in the area when the attacks happened. He said staffing levels were adequate and had been increased for the campus move-in period.

He encouraged students to avoid traveling alone, to use VCU’s security escort service and to be aware of their surroundings.

“It’s our responsibility to protect our students regardless of what choices they make, regardless of what actions they take,” he said.

Police are reviewing video footage that shows the suspected attackers and are asking anyone who might know them to call police.

“Someone is going to know some of these individuals,” he said.

Anyone with information can call VCU police at (804) 828-1234 or text VCUTIP to 274637 followed by their tip. Both methods are anonymous.

Information leading to an arrest may result in a cash award.

(This has been a breaking news update. Check back for more details as they become available. Read more in tomorrow’s Richmond Times-Dispatch.)

Originally posted at 4:58 a.m.

Police were searching today for a group of about 15 young men and women believed to have committed an assault and a violent robbery in rapid succession on Virginia Commonwealth University’s main academic campus in downtown Richmond.

Neither victim was seriously injured in the two attacks, which occurred along Shafer Street on the Monroe Park campus about 2:55 a.m.

VCU and Richmond police described the assailants as a group of 15 black males between the ages of 17 and 22.

The first victim, who is not a VCU student, reported being punched without provocation by a member of the group while getting out of a vehicle at Shafer and West Grace streets.

Moments later, the group encountered the second victim, a VCU student, at Shafer and West Franklin streets. The student told police one member of the group made a comment about his boots before the victim was punched in the back of the head and knocked to the ground.

Once on the ground, the victim was told by one of the assailants, “Give me everything you’ve got.” The victim was punched again in the neck and a pack of cigarettes was stolen from his pants pocket, police said.

The assailants were last seen heading south through Shafer Court.

The crimes come just days after students returned to campus over the weekend for the start of the fall semester and at a time when VCU Police Chief John Venuti is undertaking several measures to increase security.

The department is hiring 10 new officers, which would expand the force to 92, including some who will patrol on bicycles, and has hired G4S, a private security firm, to patrol at night in sport utility vehicles with flashing yellow lights. Venuti also is overseeing upgrades in VCU’s video surveillance capabilities on campus.

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