by: Amanda Warford Updated:GAINESVILLE, Fla. —
Students are advised to take caution after University of Florida police say a man attacked two women blocks away from the football stadium Saturday.
Darby Chait and Chloe Simons say they are only walking in pairs until the man is found. The two students were at the game, and received a campus alert about the suspect early Sunday morning.
"I woke up to the news and couldn't believe it happened so close to where we were," said Simons.
"It was really rainy and crazy because everyone was trying to get to cover," said Chait of the weather that night.
Police say the man took advantage of that bad weather, when he attempted to rape a 21-year-old four blocks from the stadium at approximately 9:20 p.m on NW 2nd Avenue. The woman reported she was punched in the face and that her clothes were ripped off before someone heard her screams, forcing the attacker to run.
Police believe he attacked again four hours later, pulling a woman into the woods near the 400 block of 13th street. Fans leaving game also heard her screams and scared the attacker again. Police say he quickly disappeared into the crowd of fans.
The man was then spotted 40 minutes later more than a mile away on 16th Street asking neighbors for a ride to the Americas Best Value motel on 13th Street. Police say they searched every room but the accused attacker was gone.
Now students are on the lookout and hoping he's found very soon.
"The campus seems pretty safe and it's easy to let your guard down," said Simons. "And then something like that happens. It just opens your eyes."
Police are working with the two victims to develop a sketch of the suspect that could be released later this week.
In the meantime, they are looking for a heavy set white male between 6 feet and 6 feet 5 inches tall, with short brown hair and beard, who was last seen wearing a blue Gator shirt.