Student injured in assault on Boylston Street


The student was assaulted in front of Barnes & Noble at Emerson. Beacon Archive

By Chris Van Buskirk

An unidentified person assaulted an Emerson student walking towards the Boylston Place Alley on Boylston Street Monday evening, according to the Emerson College Police Department.

At approximately 9:45 p.m. on Monday, a student was returning home from studying, with a backpack and cellphone in hand, as an unidentified individual made their way east along Boylston Street pushing people along the way. As the two crossed paths, Lieutenant Steve Desy said the assailant punched the student in the face and immediately began sprinting away.

The assailant made no attempt to steal the student’s items, ECPD Chief Robert Smith said.

ECPD released a campus advisory at 12:58 a.m. Tuesday morning informing community members that an Emerson student was assaulted in front of the college’s bookstore. Smith said the student and the individual did not know each other and the incident was a random act.

“The random nature of it is what’s most distressing. The student was minding his own business,” Smith said. “I can’t remember the last time somebody got sucker-punched. It happens when the bars let out, but not like this.”

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The student was treated for bruising, Smith said. ECPD did not disclose the name of the student.

Following the incident, ECPD plans to increase the number of patrols for the next few weeks between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m. as a precautionary measure.

Junior Elizabeth Bradford said she was passing the bookstore on her way back to the Colonial residence hall from the Max Cafe with two of her friends when the assailant punched the student in the face in an exaggerated fashion. The force of the punch knocked the student off the sidewalk and onto Boylston Street. Following the attack, Bradford said the assaulter yelled “you don’t belong here.”

When Bradford approached the student, she said their hands were covered in blood as they laid in the street with a split lip. Bradford said three individuals then approached the scene and said the assailant had been provoking them into a fight with them earlier.

“When I think back to it, again, the primary thing in my head is just his bloody hands,” she said in an interview a day after the attack. “It’s something that really stayed with me because it just was so random and it was so violent and no one stopped because no one thought anything of it.”

Smith said ECPD Officer Robert Miller responded to the scene after the incident was reported to ECPD. Miller first treated the student for any potential injuries and then called for backup. Officer Walter Patterson arrived and immediately began searching for the suspect.

The assailant escaped east along Boylston Street, then turned south onto Tremont Street, and disappeared in the direction of LaGrange Street, according to the campus advisory.

Smith said ECPD was unable to apprehend the assailant and clearly identify who they were. However, Smith said he is positive that the assailant was not an Emerson student.

This is an ongoing story. Check back for updates.