Student Dies After Rushing to Teen Girls' Rescue
Tugce Albayrak dies on 23rd birthday in Germany after attack by harasser
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2014 2:00 PM CST
Candles and flowers are placed in the parking lot where Tugce Albayrak was attacked two weeks ago in Offenbach, Germany. She died Friday.   (AP Photo/dpa,Frank Rumpenhorst)

(Newser) – German President Joachim Gauck is considering awarding the national Order of Merit honor to a German-Turkish student who died on her 23rd birthday. The act that resulted in Tugce Albayrak's death: defending two teen girls from male harassers at an Offenbach McDonald's, then being attacked in the restaurant's parking lot by one of the suspects, the AP reports. Albayrak had been in a coma since the Nov. 15 incident, until her family allowed her to be taken off life support Friday. An 18-year-old known only as Senal M. from Serbia is in custody and has reportedly confessed, the Deutsche Welle radio station reports.

The problems started when Albayrak heard two teen girls crying for help near the McDonald's bathroom two weeks ago, the BBC reports. She rescued the girls from three male harassers, one of whom allegedly attacked her later: Surveillance video shows one man seeming to hit Albayrak in the head as another looks like he's trying to protect her, then Albayrak falling and hitting her head on the pavement, notes the AP. A local police spokesman says, "We are still hoping that the two teenage girls will get in touch with us" as witnesses. In the meantime, Germany is honoring Albayrak as a hero with candlelight vigils across the country. "Where other people looked the other way, Tugce showed exemplary courage and moral fortitude," Gauck says. (About 65% of women say they've been harassed on the street.)
 

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