She has since gone home to Nashville with her parents. She asked 10 News not to use her name.
It wasn’t long before the attack that the victim began thinking about being prepared to protect herself.
“It was kind of ironic that we had this whole conversation about the pepper spray right before I needed to use it,” she said.
The UT student and some friends were chatting about pepper spray as they walked home from a friend’s house about 2:30 Sunday morning. She said they headed different directions about 2 blocks from her home.
“I’ve had the pepper spray since last year when my boyfriend bought it for me after the Channon Christian tragedy,” she said.
Channon Christian and Chris Newsom were killed after a car-jacking in Knoxville last January.
This weekend, the UT student said she was very aware of her surroundings as she walked toward home. She noticed a slow moving maroon Pontiac with two men in it.
“They turned around and started driving the wrong way on the one way street, and then I immediately knew they were coming after me,” she said.
She ran and tried to hide on a porch. She said the car passenger chased her and cornered her on the porch.
“And I said, ‘Don’t get any closer. I have pepper spray and i will spray you. Get away from me,’” she told 10 News.
She said he hit her with a rod of some sort, grabbed her by the hair, and yanked her down the porch steps.
“He was dragging me, so I don’t even want to think about what would have happened if I hadn’t had my pepper spray.”
The man ran after she sprayed him.
The victim suffered some minor bruises. Knoxville police are investigating the case as an aggravated assault.
The victim’s father sent a letter to Knoxville’s police chief, UT police, and Knoxville’s mayor. The letter said investigators overlooked evidence at the crime scene and characterized the police response as “ineffective.”
Police are waiting for the victim to return from Nashville to work with a sketch artist to develop a suspect composite.
“I’m going to be afraid about walking to class even in the broad daylight.”