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2 University of Minnesota students stabbed, robbed in Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS — A man stabbed two female University of Minnesota students during a robbery early Monday near a major northeast Minneapolis intersection, and police say they are looking for the suspect in what is being characterized as a random off-campus attack on the women.

The stabbings occurred about 12:20 a.m. near University Avenue Northeast and East Hennepin Avenue while the women were walking from downtown to their home a few blocks away and about a mile northwest of the campus, police said.

The women, both 21 and living at the same address, were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center. A hospital spokeswoman said they are in satisfactory condition. One of the students is from a small town north of Chicago, while the other is from West St. Paul, according to the university.

The suspect came away with $5, said police spokesman Scott Seroka.

After a lull for the past two months in serious crime targeting university students, the stabbings are at least the third violent attack on University of Minnesota students in recent weeks either on or near campus.

In Monday’s attack, a 24-year-old man, identified by police as a witness, said he was waiting for a bus nearby and heard someone screaming. He looked around the corner and saw a man holding one of the women in a headlock.

The witness said he called 911 to report where the attack was unfolding.

“The more slender woman was bleeding pretty good,” and her friend was applying pressure until police arrived and took over, said the witness, who asked that his identity be withheld out of concern for his safety.

The other woman, he added, had “a small stab wound to the back.”

Shortly before midnight on April 25, a man rushed out from some bushes brandishing a semiautomatic handgun along University Avenue Southeast, just south of Williams Arena. A student, who turned 21 that day, was robbed of her cellphone, but she was otherwise unharmed. That suspect remains at large.

About 9 p.m. on April 22, three suspects robbed a 21-year-old man at gunpoint and hit him in the back of the head on the West Bank, near the intersection of 28th Avenue and Seventh Street South. The trio took off with the student’s backpack.

No arrests have been announced in any of the three incidents.

A string of sexual assaults and sometimes violent robberies starting last fall and continuing well into February set the campus on edge and prompted university officials to increase security, adding brighter lights, more police and new security cameras. Most of the crime, however, targeted students walking off campus at night.