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Video: Chicago college student fights off armed attacker

(NewsNation) — A University of Chicago student fought back against her armed attacker, grabbing his gun and sending him fleeing after a series of robberies occurred just minutes apart in the area.

Surveillance video shows the moment when Maddi, 21, a senior at the university, was confronted by the gun-wielding suspect.

She told NewsNation affiliate WGN she did not see the car pull up but saw a man in a ski mask approach her as she was walking on the sidewalk near campus Wednesday.

“You never think it’s going to be you,” Maddi said. “I was walking on South University, which is a major artery of this school. It’s well-populated; it was broad daylight.”

Maddi was walking back from class, taking the same route she typically walks, when she was approached by the suspect.

“I’ve always felt safe, personally. It’s upsetting as students we get these alerts all of the time. They’re very frequent, they vary in the severity of them. It’s just troubling that it becomes so desensitizing,” she said.

The incident was caught on a surveillance camera from a nearby building.

She tried to keep walking but said the confrontation quickly unfolded when he demanded her phone.

“He flashes the gun towards me, and I kind of just go blank. I throw the phone behind my hands, we get into this tussle, and he eventually gets the phone from me,” she said. “I was grabbing maybe for my phone, maybe the gun, it’s really a blackout moment for me, and I realize that I was able to grab the magazine out of the gun.”

In the struggle, Maddi was able to remove the magazine from his gun. She can then be seen throwing the magazine into a bush. She said she froze for a moment when she registered what happened and immediately ran away.

“I couldn’t necessarily really register the threat ahead of me,” she said. “So definitely wouldn’t advocate for fighting back. Losing a life over a phone is definitely not worth it.”

Maddi was one of three students from the University of Chicago who were robbed at gunpoint just minutes apart in the area of the school’s Hyde Park campus, according to university police.

The first incident happened around 2:50 p.m. Wednesday as two students were walking on opposite sides of the street. Police said four armed suspects approached the victims, took their belongings and fled in a four-door black Infiniti.

Just minutes later, another student was walking off-campus when two suspects allegedly approached them with handguns and took their belongings. University police described the vehicle the suspects took off in as a black four-door vehicle.

While Maddi admits she would likely handle the situation differently if she had planned for something like this, she said she is glad the police department has a piece of evidence, which hopefully serves as a lead.

“You never think it will be you, and when I was confronted with that moment, I was in utter disbelief,” she said.

Other students who spoke with WGN said they’re concerned about recent incidents in the area.

“This is a place that gets a lot of foot traffic, and for something like that to happen in broad daylight is honestly very scary,” Michelangelo Pagan said. “For it to happen one block away from the quad is really disturbing.”

According to a security alert sent out by campus officials, no injuries were reported in either incident; however, the incident has left many shaken.

The first incident is under investigation by the University of Chicago Police Department, while the second is under investigation by the Chicago Police Department.

University police said if you are a victim, you should not resist unless necessary.

No arrests have been announced.

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