On Sunday night at around 10:45 p.m., students received a text message and/or a phone call as a part of the alert notification system alerting them to the attempted robbery of a student by an armed assailant. According to the description of the attack in an all-campus e-mail issued later that night, the attack was reported at 9:45 p.m. and occurred near Wood House, between Garfield and the Center for Development Economics. The e-mail also provided a description of the attacker, “The attacker is described as a large male, 6 feet tall, approximately 40-50 years of age wearing a dark canvas type jacket, beanie hat with a hood and dark jeans. The attacker appeared to be highly intoxicated.”
The victim initially reported the attack to the Williamstown Police Department (WPD) at approximately 9:42 p.m. Chief of the WPD Kyle Johnson explained that the victim was interviewed at the station and offered medical treatment. According to him, the victim was “grabbed from behind and then punched in the face/head area. Money was demanded. A knife was displayed.” Following the testimony, WPD dispatched officers to the area on campus.
Security also increased patrol of the College the night of the incedent, “We increased our campus coverage with extra vehicle and walking patrols and will continue the extra coverage as needed,” head of Security Dave Boyer said.
The next morning, Dean Bolton sent out an all-campus e-mail providing additional and clarifying information about the nature of the attack. The inquiry was also raised about whether or not the victim was specifically targeted.
Johnson commented on the allegations that this attack may have been specifically targeted to a member of the LBGTQ community. “At this time it appears the attack was a random crime of opportunity against a lone pedestrian in a dimly lit area that was unpopulated at the time of the attack,” he said. “If other information is obtained, the appropriate charges will be sought.”
The attacker has not yet been apprehended. The WPD, Security and the administration are urging students to exercise additional caution. “Although we live in a generally safe, rural community, individuals should remain alert and aware of their surroundings at all times. It also helps, when possible, to walk with friends when moving around in the evenings,” Boyer said.