Gunman sought in Drexel attack

May 30, 2008 6:21:11 PM PDT
Philadelphia police are looking for a suspect in an armed assault inside a Drexel University building. It happened early Thursday night in Stratton Hall at 32nd and Chestnut.

The victim, who escaped serious injury, is an assistant professor of bioscience.

Surveillance images of the suspect inside Stratton Hall show a man thought to be in his 20's, a light-skinned black male, between six feet and six feet three inches tall, with close cropped hair and wearing a white t-shirt with a distinctive graphic design.

"It appears to have at the top of the shirt an image of the mask of a mime," said police Captain Ben Naish. He says the shirt may have been produced by the Affliction brand and sold in specialty shops.

News of the incident traveled quickly as school officials sent out an e-mail alert.

The victim was in her office at the time of the attack.

"She was very thankful that it wasn't worse but she's traumatized. She had the door closed but it was unlocked because she had an appointment with a student," said Biosciences department head Mary Howett.

But instead of the student, it was the gunman. There was a struggle during which the victim was punched before the gunman ran off with her cell phone.

"He told her to shut up, but she screamed. She did the right thing, she screamed to get attention, and he fled," said Capt. Naish.

Students and staffers say they are not naive about safety. Drexel is in an urban setting. Still, this incident is unsettling.

"The person did have a gun and that's something that is very scary to us," said university staff member Nannette Clark.

Staffers praised the university for stepping up overall security today. There is now a guard near the entrance where the intruder entered as someone else exited.

Meanwhile police hope someone recognizes this man and will call them.