Another Temple University student has come forward claiming she was attacked by a group of young girls minutes before a brutal off-campus assault with a brick that forced a fellow co-ed into surgery.
The 20-year-old junior, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, tells NBC10.com she was text messaging a friend as she walked down her street, the 1700 block of Willington Street, around 5:45 p.m. on Friday when she was blindsided by a fist.
“I typed [the message] and lifted my head to start walking again and as I lifted my head up, there was a girl coming at me, swinging at me, and I was able to lean back. She barely hit my chin, and then she swung again and hit my mouth area and my neck and I was able to shove her away and sprint away,” she said.
The student says a group of seven to 10 girls took part in the unprovoked attack that left her with a few bruises. When she was able to break away, the woman says she ran to her nearby house, which is just feet from Philadelphia Police’s 22nd District headquarters.
Minutes after, the woman said a Philadelphia Police officer knocked on her door asking if she was OK. A driver apparently witnessed the attack and flagged down an officer, the student said.
“The officer said ‘Are you OK? Are you OK?’ and I was in shock and told her that I wasn't hurt bad,” she said.
The student said she was in shock and couldn’t really speak about the incident, so later that night, at the urging of her roommate, she walked over to the 22nd District headquarters to make a report.
But she says that attempt fell on deaf ears.
“His attitude was very nonchalant and he was acting like it was no big deal,” she said speaking about the officer inside the station.
The woman said the whole conversation happened from within the station’s waiting room, which was full of people at the time, and that she didn’t feel comfortable talking about all of the details regarding the assault in public.
“He said if it happened again to call 911. I didn't think to call 911 because I was at the station, I was four doors down,” she said.
The co-ed was planning to let the situation go, until she heard about the unprovoked attack of two other Temple students only three blocks away, just 15 minutes after hers.
NBC10.com was first to report that assault, in which a group of girls and boys, some of whom are believed to be as young as 8-years-old, punched and used a brick to hit a couple as they walked near Temple’s athletic fields at 16th and Norris Streets around 6 p.m. on Friday.
In that attack, a 19-year-old girl was hit in the mouth with a brick, dislodging her teeth – an injury that required emergency surgery.
“My boyfriend pushed the girl away from me that hit me in the face and then the girl’s sister came at me with a brick,” the victim told NBC10.com in an exclusive interview. She also asked to remain anonymous citing safety concerns. “I tried to get away as fast as I could. My teeth were halfway out of my mouth. I wasn’t thinking about anything besides getting to safety.”
The victim in the first attack is a family friend of the 19-year-old. The two plan to meet on Temple’s North Philadelphia campus this week to discuss their experiences. The 20-year-old says she also plans to return to the police station on Monday to try to file an official report.
NBC10.com reached out to Philadelphia Police about the attack and whether they are investigating a connection.
In a written response, the Philadelphia Police Office of Public Affairs said the department was not aware of the second attack.
"If there is someone else out there indicating they were assaulted, then we want to know about it, so that it can be investigated, and to see if they are connected. More importantly, so that those who are responsible for this brutal attack are off the streets," a spokesperson wrote.
Questions as to why a police report was not taken by an officer at the woman's home or at the station were not answered.
Ray Betzner, Assistant Vice President of University Communications at Temple, says the university had not been notified of the alleged attack. Having taken place off of the university's campus, he said it is out of Temple University Police's jurisdiction, which ends at 16th Street.
"We have primary concern of ensuring the safety of the 5,000 to 6,000 students who live on campus," he said. "Those students who choose to live in the City of Philadelphia are protected by Philadelphia Police."
Monday night, Temple University Police sent an email to students alerting them of the crimes. They also say a student reported Monday night that two teen girls tried to snatch her purse. Both Philadelphia Police and campus police are investigating.
For the past two years, Temple has paid the city $1 million a year to enhance police patrols in the neighborhoods surrounding campus, Betzner said. He adds that they rely on police to notify them about crimes in those areas and involving Temple students.
Betzner says the university also has a number of programs -- including escorts -- to keep students safe.
Asked why Temple did not sent out an alert about the brick attack after officials were made aware of it, he said such alerts are reserved for situations where people are in imminent danger.
As for the woman, she says the attack is prompting her to change her ways when walking through the neighborhood.
“I’m definitely never going to have my head down again,” she said. “I am just going to be with people all the time. Maybe if I was just with another person they wouldn’t have targeted me."