Police: 'Dangerous' suspect arrested in connection to Oct. 17 ASU sexual assault

A man was arrested in connection to a reported sexual assault that happened near Arizona State University's Tempe campus early in the morning on Oct. 17, officials said on Oct. 29.

ASU Police said the attack happened between the school's Packard parking structure and the Hyatt House Tempe near Veterans Way and 6th Street.

"The suspect grabbed the victim from behind and held a metal knife-like object to her throat," officials said. "The victim was then taken to an unknown location near Packard parking structure, where the suspect sexually assaulted her."

The man also pressed a "gun-like object" into the woman's back and then fled on foot. The suspect was considered to be armed with a knife and gun after reportedly fleeing.

"ASUPD detectives were able to collect a DNA sample from the crime scene, and submit it to the Arizona Department of Public Safety Crime Lab. This DNA matched a sample on file for Eric Bell, and officers were able to determine his whereabouts soon after," police said.

eric bell

Eric Bell was arrested in connection to a sexual assault case at Arizona State University that happened on Oct. 17, 2021.

Bell has a "significant" record out of Ohio, police said, which is how they were able to match his DNA.

He was arrested on the morning of Oct. 29.

"I want to commend the members of the ASU Police Department who put in countless hours to get justice for our survivor," ASUPD Michael Chief Thompson said. "I also want to thank our partnering agencies who helped ensure this dangerous individual was removed from the community."

Bell was booked into jail on suspicion of sexual assault, kidnapping, along with other unspecified charges.

"We hope this will provide closure and she will be able to move forward with her life. This is a dark chapter in her life but we hope this can help her," police said.

Students react to the reported attack

"It's kind of scary 'cause you wouldn't expect that to happen. It's supposed to be a safe campus," said Ashton Colorado.

Some ASU students say they're on edge following the assault on campus.

"I think everyone was kind of scared. My friends park in Packard so we try to go in pairs," Beldaja Jama said.

"I don't think it's right. It's kind of crazy that something like that would happen here especially when they say it's a safe campus," Tanner Morin said.

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