ROCK HILL, S.C. - Police said they’ve arrested a 16-year-old in connection with the assault of a college student near Winthrop University.
Rock Hill police said Terry Shaimek Tyler is being charged as an adult in the crime that happened near the Campus Walk Apartments on Rose Street around 4:30 a.m. Friday.
Detectives said a 21-year-old woman was approached by Tyler as she was walking toward her apartment.
The victim said he asked if he could get into the building, and when she seemed unsure, he pulled a handgun and made her walk to a darkened area, where she was assaulted.
Officials said the suspect then dumped out the victim's purse and took an iPhone, ID cards and keys.
Investigators said the suspect also stole the woman's gold 2012 Cadillac SRX with the South Carolina license plate 6493JL.
Just before noon, officers said the stolen SUV was spotted in Rock Hill by someone who had seen the alerts on social media and called 911. The vehicle was recovered at a gas station on India Hook Road and six people inside the SUV were detained, according to police.
Benson Prater was inside the gas station and in line with one of the people in the stolen car. He said he watched as police raced in.
"I walked over to the door, and they all come out, draw their guns and ask him to get down and everything. It was crazy," Prater said.
Police said Tyler was driving the vehicle. They said five other minors in the car were not involved in the crime and were released to their families.
The school sent an alert to students just after 6 a.m. Friday.
A Channel 9 viewer sent a screenshot of the alert, which said a sex assault at gunpoint was reported around 4:30 a.m. near the Campus Walk Apartments, which are separated from campus by railroad tracks.
Melanie Magee was stunned when she read it.
"It said like, please be safe, and please be aware that this has happened," she said.
The apartments along Rose Street are for students but are not run by the university.
“It’s just very scary. It’s my first time living alone, like without my parents, and all of this violence and sexual assaults are happening,” student Kayla Pemberton said.
Tyler is charged with criminal sexual conduct first-degree, armed robbery, kidnapping, grand larceny auto, possession of a pistol by a person under 18 and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence.
He is being held at the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice pending future court appearances.
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