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Man tells of saving woman from attack near UF

Attacker still sought by Gainesville investigators

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Nineteen-year-old Trevor Carlton heard "gut-wrenching screams" and knew something was wrong.

That's when he ran out of his apartment and helped save a young woman who was the first of four to be attacked near or on the University of Florida Campus since Aug. 30.

"Me and my girlfriend were just laying in our room, hanging out," Carlton said. "We heard a bunch of screams. By the second scream, you could really tell it was someone that needed help. ... Loud and pretty gut-wrenching screams, like she was gathering all her strength to scream."

The attack happened about 9:30 p.m. Aug. 30 at 1824 N.W. Second Ave. Carlton said he grabbed a kitchen knife and ran out to help.

"Immediately this big, large man just bolts out of the bushes, and I chased him for a little bit, and I looked to my left after I get to the end of that alleyway and there is just a girl laying there with a bloody face," Carlton said. "She was laying on her back in that bush, just crumpled into it. ... Before I came out here I looked through the window, and I just saw a body moving. I didn't really know what he was doing. He was obviously on top of her."

Carlton said the woman was in and out of consciousness, and her top was pulled down and her dress was ripped.

Carlton said he is not a hero. He was just there during a time of need and he did what he could to help. Police said his actions just might have saved the woman's life.

Investigators have launched an all-out manhunt for the possible assailant, who's been seen in surveillance video. Investigators said they have gotten hundreds of tips.

"And we want more tips. We are getting information in around-the-clock," said Officer Ben Tobias, of the Gainesville Police Department. "We have detectives that are working around-the-clock. And we are taking each individual lead and working it out. If it turns out to be nothing, fine. We are documenting everything."

Students are banding together to protect each other. On Monday night, scores of volunteers from the fraternities escorted women home.

"Anytime that a girl was by herself, we would ask her if she needed some assistance in getting to where she needed to be," said student volunteer Devin Bostwick. "So that is basically how it went down the whole night. Everyone said yes."

Some friends of several of the victims said the women are recovering physically, but they are still very shaken up by the violent attacks. The friends said the victims are living in fear because no one has been arrested.

Detectives have sent several samples to the lab in hopes of getting DNA evidence. They swabbed the women's fingernails, trying to find a sample.

None of the victims have gotten a good enough look at the man to do a composite sketch. They can only say he is very tall and large, with brown hair.