Student verbally threatened on campus

Demetrius Ford, as of 2014. Photo Courtesy of McLennan County Jail

A female Baylor student was followed and verbally threatened outside of the Eighth Street garage and the Stacy Riddle Forum at 6:22 p.m. Sunday night. Grandview senior Tara Rogers was on her way to the Stacy Riddle Forum to meet with her sorority sisters when she noticed a man was following her.

“I glanced back behind me, and the man said ‘What are you turning around for?’” Rogers said. The man began threatening Rogers, stating that he was going to “Beat her hoe a–,” and that he was going to kill her. “He said, ‘You better run,’ and that’s when I ran,” Rogers said.

Demetrius Duyelle Ford, who was arrested by Baylor police shortly after the incident occurred, has three existing warrants out for his arrest from the Waco police department, and Baylor police found drug paraphernalia on him. He was arrested and charged with drug paraphernalia, outstanding traffic warrants, making a terroristic threat and theft, according to Baylor Police Chief Brad Wigtil.

Rogers said she called the police right away, and that they were on site almost immediately after she called. They chased down Ford, who was trying to escape via a stolen bicycle and detained him. Ford was booked into the McLennan County Jail early this morning.

This was not the first time Ford has been incarcerated. According to online records, Ford has been in and out of jail or prison numerous times since the mid-’90s for crimes committed in both Austin and Waco, including trespassing, drug possession, burglary and theft. He was most recently paroled on Aug.14, 2018, from a 2014 burglary in McLennan County.

“I was pretty scared. I definitely thought something was going to happen to me,” Rogers said. “I was definitely in shock for a good 20 minutes afterwards. I didn’t know if he had, like, a weapon or anything. I didn’t get a great look at him, so I didn’t know what he had. I definitely felt like ‘this could be it.’”

She said the incident has completely changed her perspective of safety on campus, and that she now recognizes the value of being alert in these situations. “I see girls go through there all the time, and they’re looking at their cellphones and not knowing what’s going on around them,” Rogers said. “If I wouldn’t have looked back, I’ll never know what could have happened.”

Rogers emphasized the importance of staying alert, and said that just because students are on campus doesn’t mean something couldn’t happen. She said she was so quick to call the cops because she was concerned about Ford’s proximity to other Baylor students. Since the experience, Rogers said Baylor PD has put her in contact with a case worker, and she has been working through the trauma of the experience.

“We still live in a city that does have a pretty substantial crime rate, and people need to be aware of that,” Rogers said. “You shouldn’t be scared to go to school and do your normal activities every day.”

Wigtil commended Rogers for taking such quick action.

“Based on her call, BUPD was able to quickly dispatch officers to the location and apprehend the suspect,” Wigtil said. “As always, we encourage the Baylor community to call BUPD if they witness suspicious activities or circumstances on campus.”

This is the second incident on Baylor campus this semester where an outside person attacking a Baylor student. The first incident was a sexual assault which occurred on Aug. 23 near Dutton Parking garage, according to an Aug. 24 Lariat article. Mark Childers, Associate Vice President for Baylor’s Department of Public Safety, responded to concerns about safety on campus.

“Baylor’s Department of Public Safety maintains a high-level of readiness 24/7 365 days a year,” Childers said. “We strive to earn the respect and trust of our campus community daily. While we understand crime is a societal problem, DPS continues to undertake new initiatives to enhance the safety on campus and endeavors to stay prepared to respond with the third largest law enforcement agency in McLennan County. In regards to the other case, it is still a pending investigation. In this most recent case, the victim immediately reported the incident to be BUPD, which led to this suspect being arrested quickly. This demonstrates the vigilance of Baylor’s Department of Public Safety specifically BUPD.”

Baylor PD can be reached by calling 710-222 on campus, or by downloading the BU Campus Guardian app, which will allows students to contact the department directly via text or phone call. Rogers encouraged students to be aware of their resources on campus, and to be vigilant on campus.