Brandon Andre Thompson is the 26-year-old suspect accused in the severe attack and sexual assault of a female college student from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Madison police confirmed the suspect’s name in a statement released on September 6, 2023.
“Brandon A. Thompson, 26, was arrested on first-degree sexual assault, first-degree reckless injury and strangulation charges early Wednesday morning,” police wrote. Chief Shon Barnes called Thompson a “cowardly attacker” in a news conference.
“The suspect in this case is Brandon A. Thompson,” Barnes said. “Thompson is a Black male. He is 26 years of age. He is 6-1, and he weighs 210 pounds approximately.”
Jail booking records obtained by Heavy showed Brandon A. Thompson was booked into the Dane County Jail early that morning. The booking number for Thompson and the case number in the Madison Police Department’s press release on the college senior’s attack are the same.
“The victim, a woman in her 20s, is expected to survive from the injuries she suffered in this attack. She is a survivor of physical and sexual assault as a result of this incident. She is also a student at UW-Madison and we continue to work with their leadership as we investigate this case,” Madison police wrote in a press release update. She was left in critical condition by the attack, police said previously.
Here’s what you need to know:
Brandon Andre Thompson Pretended to Be an Innocent Bystander Who Told a Witness He Had Just Found the College Student, Police Say
Thompson was at the scene of the crime as evidenced by a witness, he said. Thompson told the witness he had just found the survivor, pretending to be an innocent bystander, according to Barnes. He said Thompson refused to stay on scene, and he left in his vehicle. Over the past two days, officers worked diligently to solve the case, Barnes said.
“Our investigation revealed that Thompson was mobile in a dark-colored sedan and was wearing a long-sleeved black hooded sweatshirt and dark jeans,” Barnes said.
Thompson was stopped by the Fitchburg, Wisconsin, Police Department in the early morning hours, he said. Through body camera footage, police confirmed he was the driver of the vehicle, and the clothing he was wearing matched several public space cameras which captured him on foot walking behind the victim just prior to the assault,” the chief said.
The vehicle was stopped in Fitchburg for a registration violation, Barnes said.
Video allowed detectives to read a license plate, leading to the arrest of Thompson, police said in the news conference.
The jail booking records show that Thompson was booked into the jail on September 6, 2023, at 7:02 a.m.
The booking record says he is accused of first-degree reckless injury, first-degree sexual assault and strangulation. The district attorney will make the final determination on criminal charges.
Wisconsin court records do not turn up any criminal history for Thompson in Wisconsin. Public records show him with an address in Brooklyn, Wisconsin, which is a small town near Madison. They also show a Brandon Andre Thompson, 26, with previous addresses in University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus neighborhoods in Milwaukee.
Barnes said he believes Thompson lives in the Madison area.
Authorities Say They Believe Brandon Thompson Did Not Know the Victim, Calling It a Likely Random Attack
There was “no connection” between Thompson and the victim, according to the chief.
The Madison Police Department wrote in its initial press release that the department “is investigating after a woman was brutally attacked early Sunday morning downtown.”
WISN-TV reported that a neighbor said the woman was attacked while walking on a sidewalk. She was “forced into an area between two houses at Bedford and Wilson streets,” the television station reported, adding that, “Someone heard her crying for help and called police.”
A friend told WISN that the victim is a senior who was “strangled, beaten and sexually assaulted” and also received a broken jaw. She was found along the 500 block of W. Wilson St. around 3:20 a.m., according to WISN-TV.
“The victim was rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. She remains in critical condition as of Sunday afternoon,” they wrote, noting, “She is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. We are working with University leaders to connect her friends and family with any support or resources they may need.”
Police noted: “This appears to be a stranger assault. No arrests have been made at this time.”
Barnes, speaking in a news conference, called it a “severe attack” but declined to specify the specific nature of her injuries, saying only that she had “severe signs of physical trauma.”
Brandon Thompson Was Arrested ‘While Receiving Medical Treatment,’ Police Say
Thompson was arrested while receiving medical treatment, Barnes said, declining to say what his injuries were or whether they were linked to the attack.
Barnes declined to provide an update on the survivor’s condition. Police have sent “biological evidence” to the state of Wisconsin crime lab, they said in the news conference.
In an initial press release update, Madison police wrote: “First thing Tuesday morning, Madison Police Department leadership along with investigative staff met to discuss updates to the horrific incident that occurred early Sunday morning. Detectives and investigators over the weekend gathered physical, digital and biological evidence. We are still in need of any surveillance video from this area.”
“Someone heard the commotion and was able to see him with her and that’s how we immediately discovered her,” Police Chief Shon Barnes said in a September 6, 2023, news conference.
If you were gone during the holiday weekend and live within 4 blocks of where this incident occurred (Wilson St and Bedford intersection) we ask that you submit all surveillance video and/or photos from this area to us by calling our non-emergency dispatch line at 608-255-2345. This could also be video surveillance from vehicles, such as Teslas, that were parked in the area. All video already submitted is in the process of being reviewed.
“We are making significant progress on this case. This case is a top priority for the Madison Police Department. We still encourage people to be on high alert when in this area. All public information regarding this case will be shared on the incident report site as new information becomes available,” police wrote.
In an Email to Campus, University Officials Wrote That They Are ‘Deeply Concerned’ for the Victim
In an email obtained by Heavy to the campus community, the UW-Madison police chief and dean of students wrote: “We’re reaching out this weekend to share information about a violent and severe attack that occurred off-campus early Sunday morning in downtown Madison around the area of West Wilson and Bedford Street. The victim is a UW–Madison student.”
They noted: “We are deeply concerned for this individual, keeping them and their family in our thoughts and providing all possible support.”
At that time, the suspect was still at large. “As a result, police are increasing patrols and visibility as well as urging the community to remain vigilant and maintain awareness of their safety and surroundings,” they wrote.
“Our partners at the City of Madison Police Department are conducting a thorough and comprehensive investigation. University Police (UWPD) is assisting and offering resources. The Dean of Students Office and Mental Health Services is working to support our students,” they added.
“If you have any information about this case, or video from a security system in that area between 2 a.m.-4 a.m., please contact the City of Madison Police Department at (608) 255-2345.”
The communication was signed by University of Wisconsin Police Department Chief Kristen Roman and Dean of Students Christina Olstad.
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