OSU Mansfield student who tried to stop abduction of Skylar Williams speaks out

Local News

MANSFIELD, Ohio (WCMH) — In an interview you’ll only see on NBC4, we talked to the student who witnessed and tried to stop the abduction of Skylar Williams, who was taken at gunpoint late Monday morning from an OSU Mansfield campus parking lot. 

19-year-old Austin Armstead put his own life on the line trying to save Skylar after he heard her screams for help.

Armstead says he got there just in time. He was actually arriving late for class when from about 100 yards away, he saw what was going on and ran toward the chaos. As he got closer, he says Ty’rell Pounds turned the gun on him. 

“I’m basically sprinting towards them. And I took another step and I’m about 15 feet away and then he points a gun at me was it at my chest and says “don’t try it bro” and then I take another step, I’m about 10 feet away at this point, I slow down as much as I can and I basically just put my hands up and jump behind a car,” Austin described.

After that, Pounds sped away with Williams in the car. 

The abduction happened around 11:45 a.m. Monday, according to the public safety notice from the Ohio State University Department of Public Safety, time stamped 1:38 p.m., with an update at 2:30 p.m. that included details on the suspect vehicle. 

An OSU Mansfield student tweeted they were first officially notified of the incident via a Buckeye Alert at 1:19 p.m. that said, “Mansfield campus reports abduction of a student by a suspect known to victim. Police in area gathering details now. Update to be sent via Public Safety notice.”

By 3:14 p.m. Monday, Kentucky State Police (KSP) say the first 911 call reporting a woman in distress at a Gallatin County gas station was made. KSP received the call from Gallatin County dispatch reporting the incident at 3:24 p.m. 

Click here to watch the Wednesday press conference with KSP

After talking to 911, Armstead and other witnesses wrote down what they saw for campus police. 

Afterwards, Armstead said he went to his next class. He was doing homework at short time later and went to fill up his water bottle. 

“Then I looked out the window after I filled it up and there’s just all these cops out there. I figured maybe I can help in someway, so I went out and told them I was one of the main witnesses. Three hours later, I finally got done talking to investigators and finish talking to different officers. We were sitting in that one car for more than an hour before anybody came over and talk to us,” he recalled.

NBC4 reached out to Ohio State, they said despite the witnesses not being interviewed for that length of time— within minutes they had the name of the suspect, his place or work and knew he had left campus and which direction he was headed. 

At a Wednesday afternoon press conference, KSP said Williams was fatally shot by Pounds; after a multi-county high speed chase ended in Oldham County at Exit 14, a state trooper opened fire, fatally wounding Pounds after hearing a gunshot from inside the vehicle. 

The Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake released the following statement on Tuesday: Our Ohio State community suffered a tragic loss with the death of Mansfield student Skylar Williams. This senseless and shocking incident has left our campus shaken. We join Mansfield Dean Norman Jones in expressing our condolences and deepest sympathies. Our thoughts and prayers are with Skylar’s family. Additional counseling and consultation services have been made available to members of the university community in need of support on our Mansfield campus. Mansfield students can utilize the Student Assistance Program and support services are also available to students, faculty and staff across the university. Law enforcement continues to investigate all circumstances surrounding this incident. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Ohio State Highway Patrol at 419-756-2222.

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