Marcus Connolly/ The Paisano
The close-knit community at Avalon Place apartments was shaken after the Oct. 29 alleged assault and kidnapping at the complex.
Two female UTSA students were victims of burglary, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault at Avalon Place in the 6600 block of UTSA Boulevard near the UTSA Main Campus.
“It makes you feel that you can’t even live where you are supposed to be living,” said Victoria Zerda, a senior anthropology major and neighbor of the victims.
“It’s a small complex, so whatever goes on, everybody hears about it,” added Dylan Mars, a freshman engineering major and Avalon resident. “When the incident happened, everybody was kind of concerned for everyone’s well-being.”
The San Antonio Fire Department responded to what they believed to be a garbage fire during the early hours of Wednesday morning, Oct. 29.
“The fire alarms went off around 12:30 or 12:45 while I was in bed,” said Mars. “It’s actually a common occurrence — the fire alarms go off a lot around here; they are really sensitive to the smoke alarms. I didn’t really think anything of it.”
When they arrived at the apartment complex, the firefighters put out the garbage fire and saw a woman pleading for help.
“She had a gun in her hand, and the police initially thought that she was the threat,” said Zerda.
After calming herself, the young woman told the firefighters that she had just escaped a kidnapping from her apartment and that another woman — her roommate — was being held hostage.
SAPD arrived shortly after and apprehended the alleged perpetrator — who surrendered on the apartment’s balcony holding a bloody knife in his hand.
The other woman held hostage was found in her apartment’s bathroom by the SAPD.
Since the incident, the police have identified the alleged perpetrator as Bo Jett Littleton. He has been charged with one count of aggravated sexual assault, two counts of aggravated kidnapping and two counts of burglary of a habitation with intent to commit a felony.
A similarly violent situation involving the SAPD SWAT team occurred at the Outpost apartment complex in the summer of 2012.
Management at both Avalon Place and The Outpost declined to comment on the recent incident.
In 2013, the UTSA main campus experienced 12 burglaries and seven cases of sexual assault. However, according to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), 60 percent of sexual assaults are never reported to police.
Additionally, RAINN claims that one of every six women in America has been the victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.
“It makes you feel uncomfortable in your own home,” said Zerda, who lives alone at Avalon. “I’m sure this isn’t going to happen every other day from now on, but it’s just a really uncomfortable feeling knowing that you’re so exposed and vulnerable.”
University statistics and the College News and Education website report that approximately 12 percent of UTSA students live in college-owned, operated or affiliated housing while 88 percent of students live offcampus.
“It’s disturbing that you can move in and out of these complexes so easily,” said Zerda on the safety of the complex. “Especially one without gates. I know off-campus student housing isn’t on campus, but it should still be a priority for student safety.”
According to RAIDS Online — a regional analysis and information sharing website for crime within the region — 51 residential burglaries and six sexual assaults have occurred in the past year within a five-mile radius of the UTSA Main Campus.
“Its just a scary thing to think about,” said Mars about the incident. “It can happen to anyone.”