Students and victim’s family speak out about the robbery at FAU

+Alex+Kukharskiy+claimed+he+saw+the+gunman+go+inside+music+Practice+Room+315+on+the+third+floor+of+the+Arts+and+Letters+building+on+Thursday%2C+Nov.+29th.+Photo+by+Michelle+Friswell.

“Alex Kukharskiy claimed he saw the gunman go inside music Practice Room 315 on the third floor of the Arts and Letters building on Thursday, Nov. 29th. Photo by Michelle Friswell.”

Emily Bloch

“Alex Kukharskiy claimed he saw the gunman go inside music Practice Room 315 on the third floor of the Arts and Letters building on Thursday, Nov. 29th. Photo by Michelle Friswell.”

Technical piano scales echo through the practice room hallway of the Arts and Letters building.

“It happened right here,” says vocalist Alexey Kukharskiy, as he walks into practice room 315.

Just one day ago, Kukharskiy saw a freshman music student working on his singing. It wasn’t until the door to room 315 unlatched that he says the student became a victim of an armed robbery.

“[The gunman] walked in … sitting right there, turned off the light, [and allegedly stuck] the gun to his head.”

On Thursday, Nov. 29 at 1:11 p.m., FAU students received a text alert warning them of an armed intruder in the Arts and Letters building. The alert advised students to seek shelter on campus before they were placed on lockdown for three hours.

“I found out through the media and FAU phone [alerts],” explained the victim’s father, who requested his name not be released. “But I didn’t know he was involved until after the lockdown was lifted.”

Students were told to be aware of a 5-foot-10, black male with a muscular build, dressed in a white shirt and white pants. Media Relations assistant director Christopher Stotz later told WPBF that the suspect also donned a ski mask.

But Kukharskiy said he already knew where the intruder was.

Kukharskiy stated he saw the suspect in practice room 314 — one door to the left of the victim’s practice room. As the suspect was leaving, Kukharskiy said that the man offered the practice room to him. Kukharskiy refused.

“I wanted another room,” he said. Shortly after, the alleged gunman left his practice room. “That’s probably when he was getting out his mask,” Kukharskiy said.

“I reached [my practice room] and then I saw him coming back … I passed him, and a few seconds later, [the victim was] in the hallway saying ‘I just got robbed.’”

Word spread fast, revealing that the robber got away with the victim’s cell phone and iPad.

“Lately, there have been a lot of thefts going on in the practice rooms,” said Rose Renee Exantus, a junior music education major. She mentioned instruments have been stolen and some students have even left their laptops behind.

Exantus was on the third floor in Arts and Letters at the time of the event.

“I just left the practice room. I was at the locker putting my things away,” she continued. “We just did not think we would see the day where one of our friends would actually be affected by that. Why him? He really does not deserve that.”

News of the school lockdown was covered by news stations such as WSVN and NBC throughout the day. FAU called the victim’s father after 4:05 p.m. when the lockdown was lifted and let him know that his son was robbed at gunpoint. “Right after [we got the phone call], we knew that he was OK.”

The victim’s father was happy with how FAU handled the situation. “I was impressed with the quick response. My main concern is the students at stake.”

As of press time, the suspect still hasn’t been found. “Anyone can come on campus,” said the victim’s father. “We’re happy nothing happened.”

Lore Khazem contributed reporting to this story.

[The UP has chosen not to release the name of the victim in this case since the investigation is still open]