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Group of men pull gun, rob VCU student sitting in Richmond park

Posted at 6:21 AM, Mar 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-30 19:46:50-04

RICHMOND, Va -- A group of men robbed a Virginia Commonwealth University student as he sat in a city park Tuesday night.

The robbery happened at around 10:26 Tuesday night in Smith-Peters Park, in the 900 block of Catherine Street. Police said at least four men jumped out of a dark-colored SUV and walked up to him. They then took out guns and robbed him of several things before jumping back into the SUV and driving off.

Since the park is in near to VCU's Monroe Park campus, a campus-wide alert went out to students.

Working on her art project, VCU student Nefertiti Warren calls Smith Peters Park in the Carver neighborhood her safe haven.

But Warren said now she'll think twice after Richmond police said another VCU student is robbed at gunpoint by a group of men Tuesday night.

"That's crazy to know that someone is actually like robbing people here," Warren said.

Investigators said the victim was sitting on a park bench when five suspects approached him and one pulled out a handgun and demanded cash.

Police said the man assaulted the student and the suspects steal the students' wallet, head set and smartphone.

Then, they get away on foot.

"It doesn't surprise me," Aydian Woodard said.

Woodard heard the robbery come over the police scanner while working on her security job at VCU.

"I'm at work from 4 to midnight and on Fridays it gets even more busier when I get off. So I'm always listening to the radio," Woodard said.

And other VCU student heard about it too.

"It's definitely alarming. I live one block over and I was going to come home from practice. And I got my VCU alert. So, I was safe not coming home immediately," said VCU student Garrett Fitzsimmons.

As for Nefertiti Warren - she won't take any chances coming to this park alone at night.

"I don't think I'd come here at night anymore. I think I will stay until the day time and once the sun goes down, I'll leave like Iike I'm supposed to now," Warren said.

Richmond police say they have strong leads in this case and are working with VCU police to catch the suspects.

Additionally, both agencies have increased patrols in the area.

If you have information that could help investigators, call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 804-780-1000.