It was Saturday at the University of South Florida and students were enjoying the break from the hectic week of classes and homework. Marc Miller was spending his day with friends at the USF football game.
“It was pretty much the best experience I’ve had going to a football game,” Miller said.
Later that day Miller, a Premedical science student, went to visit a friend who lived in the apartment complex along 42nd Street across from the USF campus. It was a little after 2 a.m. when Miller and two of his friends left the apartment to head back to the USF’s dormitories.
“My friends and I were walking down the street,” Miller said. “When a car parked off to the side, two men jumped out and just ran at us with guns yelling to us to get on the ground.”
As the two assailants approached Miller and his friends, Miller started shouting for help, but his shouts for help were silenced by one of the attackers.
“One of them started to strangle me around my neck,” Miller said.
What happened to Miller and his friends is not a rare occurrence in Tampa. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s annual crime report, in 2013 there were 582 robberies that involved the use of a firearm.
But reading about the crime statistics does not compare with actually becoming a statistic.
While Miller was being strangled his attacker noticed a gold chain and ripped it off his neck. His attacker then put the gun to his head and ordered him to empty out his pockets.
“He then ripped off the belt I was wearing and demanded my wallet,” Miller said. “When I stood up to take the wallet out of my back pocket, that’s when he struck me with the butt-end of the gun on my chest.”
While Miller and his two friends were being attacked, cars were driving by. The drivers ignorant to what was happening. One driver did notice and stopped.
“One car finally slowed down and honked, realizing what was going on,” Miller said.
That saved Miller and his friends, making the assailants run back to their vehicle and speed away.
Since the attack, Miller is constantly looking over his shoulders and being aware of his surroundings.
“I really don’t want to even go out anywhere,” Miller said. “All of my senses are heightened, so that’s how I act around campus now.”
Miller’s plans are to finish out the semester and then go back home to Massachusetts.
“I just want to go home and transfer back to a school, close to home, where I know I’ll be safe,” Miller said.