Hospital assault leads to campus safety alerts

Early Tuesday morning, Cookeville police responded to a reported aggravated assault near Cookeville Regional Medical Center.

A 15-year-old female had been standing outside the hospital when a man holding a knife grabbed her from behind. As she moved away, she was slightly injured by the man’s knife.

The victim had a knife too but was disarmed by the man, who then fled on foot. The victim was treated for her injury at the hospital before being released to her mother.

The suspect was described as a black male approximately 6 feet 2 inches tall with a “stocky” build, according to a news release from the Cookeville Police Department. He was also described as wearing a black hoodie, dark pants and Nike athletic shoes.

As of late Thursday night, Cookeville police have not yet named any suspects in the hospital assault but are still searching for leads.

Crawford Hall, the only all-female residential hall on campus, is the closest residential hall to the hospital. Crawford resident Madi Heaton, freshman agricultural engineering major, said the assault didn’t shock her.

“It seems like there’s been a lot going on campus this last year,” said Heaton. “I do feel safe on campus, I do carry around pepper spray just in case, but I honestly don’t feel threatened when I go out at night.”

Around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, a TTUalert was sent to students, informing them of the assault near campus. TTUalert is a service students can sign up for to receive emails and text messages about campus-related safety hazards, such as weather and assaults.

Heaton receives the alerts and said it’s better than just receiving emails about an incident, even though the alerts are sometimes slow to come in.

Heaton also said that, along with carrying pepper spray, she texts people where she’s going and when she’ll be there. Heaton believes “it’s important to be prepared, especially when it comes to personal safety.”

“I believe if you have the right precautions, there’s no reason to feel threatened,” said Heaton.