Students at the University of North Texas are on high alert after a graduate student was attacked just off campus early Thursday morning.
The assault happened just after 3 a.m. at the Hickory Village apartments when a Japanese exchange student arrived home after studying at Willis Library, police said.
"Instead of going straight to her apartment, she went to her mailbox to check her mail," Officer Ryan Grelle said. "On the way back, she got to her apartment and tried to close the door."
That's when she was approached by a man and two women. The man held her down while the women searched her apartment.
The victim told NBC 5 she was pepper sprayed. A scratch mark on her neck was still visible late Thursday. The trio did not take anything from the apartment, including her purse, she said.
A neighbor heard the victim yelling and called 911.
"I could hear screaming from coming downstairs," said fashion design student Meagan Vargas. "So I went outside and I peeked through the cubby hole, I could distinctively hear a girl screaming."
Police said the attack is unusual.
"She's not far from the campus," Grelle said. "As a student, you think you are safe in the area. Lessons from this, unfortunately, is walk in pairs, walk in groups."
UNT spokesperson Buddy Price said a campus warning was issued out soon after the assault.
"We send out an alert to our faculty, staff, and students because health and safety of our campus community is our primary concern," Price said. "There are emergency phones around campus. There's an escort service you can call, and you can get a ride home if you need it."
If you have any information about the case, contact Denton police at 940-349-8181.
NBC 5's Scott Gordon contributed to this report.