Five University of St. Thomas students were robbed at gunpoint early Saturday morning by a group of suspects wearing ski masks, according to the college's public safety department.

The robbery occurred just before 3 a.m. in St. Paul on Cretin Avenue between Selby and Dayton avenues. The students were walking west on Selby Avenue near campus when they noticed a man in a black ski mask following them, authorities said.

As the students neared an alleyway between Selby and Dayton, a car with bright headlights pulled up next to them.

Three suspects wearing black ski masks got out of the car, one brandishing a firearm, and demanded the students' possessions, according to the St. Thomas Department of Public Safety. One of the suspects fired a gun in the air.

The suspects took a student's backpack before fleeing north on Cretin Avenue in their vehicle. Authorities said two vehicles — a Ford truck and a small, dark sport utility vehicle — were involved in the robbery. One of the vehicles had its lights off.

None of the students was harmed, a St. Thomas spokeswoman said. The students went to a nearby home, where a neighbor helped them report the robbery to St. Paul police.

The police are investigating the robbery.

Ryan Faircloth • 612-673-4234

Twitter: @ryanfaircloth