A student at the University of St. Thomas was assaulted by a group of people just after midnight Friday near the intersection of Summit Avenue and Mississippi River Boulevard in St. Paul, the university said in a news release.

Two students were walking on a path in Shadows Falls Park when they encountered a group blocking the path, according to the university's Department of Public Safety, which was alerted about 12:30 a.m. Saturday by St. Paul police officers, who were already at the scene.

The students thought one member of the group appeared to be under the influence of drugs, according to the Public Safety report.

When one of the students offered him water, the person threatened to stab the student, then lunged at the student and hit him in the face, the release said.

The 21-year-old student was pushed to the ground, where the person placed him in a chokehold, the university said. Two or three other members of the larger group pulled the student away and started dragging him while he was still being hit.

The student got free and ran from the group. He reported hearing five or six gunshots as he was running. He suffered minor injuries and was not taken to a hospital, police said. A single shell casing was found at the scene.

The group was reported to have fled south on Mississippi River Boulevard, away from campus, the Public Safety report said.

Anyone with information is asked to call St. Thomas' Public Safety Department at 651-962-5100 or St. Paul police at 651-291-1111.

Katy Read • 612-673-4583