College Student's Death Might Be Tied To Street Harassment

Photo: HOGP/AP Photo.
Eric Jamal Johnson, a U.S. Marine, has been arrested for the murder of Sara Mutschlechner, a 20-year-old who was shot and killed in Denton, Texas, as she drove friends home in the early hours of New Year's Day. With Johnson's arrest come details of that night that suggest Mutschlechner's death came after street harassment escalated to violence.

Denton police spokesman Shane Kizer told CNN that there was an exchange between Mutschlechner and her car's three passengers and a car carrying five or six men. "It was an amicable conversation to begin with, but quickly went downhill and some derogatory statements were made toward the female occupants of that vehicle," Kizer said. "Some comments were made back towards him, even a couple of threats were thrown. About that time, they were driving through the intersection...when several shots were fired."

Mutschlechner, who was hit in the head by a bullet, died later that day at a local hospital. Kizer described the passengers who were in the car with Johnson when it fled the scene as "persons of interest."

Emily May, executive director of anti-harassment nonprofit Hollaback!, told us, "Street harassment is on a spectrum of gender-based violence. When street harassment is okay, it makes groping okay. And when groping is okay, it makes assault okay. And when assault is okay, it makes murder okay. To make sure what happened to Sara doesn't happen to anyone else, we need to stop this cycle where it starts."

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