Some say alley used by students as a shortcut is a haven - WSMV Channel 4

Some say alley used by students as a shortcut is a haven for criminals

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It's a shortcut for tenants, but folks at a Murfreesboro Apartment complex are now concerned that the alley is attracting criminals. Last night three men who attend MTSU had a gun pulled on them and crooks tried to take their money.

After what happened to him last night Chris Keil, 23, is on edge.

"They just jumped out of the bushes," Keil said. "When I saw the gun, I knew they were serious."

Keil said five men tried to rob him and two of his friends.

"I wanted to run, but there were too many of them," Keil said.

But he didn't back down either; he refused to give up his cash.

"I said 'you are going to have to take it from me, because I'm not going to give it to you,'" Keil said he told the gunman.

It happened in an alley behind Campus Crossings Apartments, 285 N. Rutherford Blvd. next to Middle Tennessee State University. Keil and his friends use the shortcut to go to the Shell Gas Station all the time, but their late-night snack run was a lot different than most.

"I was scared," he said. "I didn't need to be shot."

Keil and his friends were able to get away. MTSU police ended up arrested two of the crooks, 18-year-old Charles Robertson Jr. and 18-year-old Shamari Cooper.

The alley is used by a lot of the tenants who are mostly students.

Word about the late-night attempted robbery quickly spread. Many of the tenants are concerned about what happened, especially the women.

"I bought my books at a bookstore back there, and my apartment is next to the alley; so I don't feel it's safe," Campus Crossings tenant Roshlina Powell said.

Others said they will take precautions.

"I probably won't walk down that way by myself, and if I do I will have someone with me, and not when it's dark," Campus Crossings tenant Taylor Sloan said.

Keil said when he was looking down the barrel of the gun, he could only think of his family. He said he will think twice about walking through the alley at night.

"I just had a 1-month-old baby, and I'm about to get married," Keil said. "I'm in school, working, so being shot is the last thing I needed."

Murfreesboro police found a black mask behind the Shell Station, they collected that as evidence.

There are a few lights next to the store, but tenants said they wish the owners would add more lighting facing the alley.

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