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Method Hardly Varied in Series of Attacks

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Last month, after three young women were sexually assaulted in her La Jolla neighborhood, Barbara Peterson started making the rounds.

She printed up a flyer, warning her neighbors that a rapist had twice visited their quiet street near Windansea Beach and asking oceanfront residents to leave their outdoor lights on at night. For her own peace of mind, she began calling private security companies to see what kind of protection they could offer.

So Peterson was relieved Thursday when she learned that San Diego law enforcement officials had arrested a man they believe stalked her neighborhood. But she was not reassured to learn that the suspect, who is being held in connection with an early-morning shooting at a nearby La Jolla beach, was a San Diego police officer.

“That,” she said, “is doubly frightening.”

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Police said that Henry Hubbard Jr., an officer for 4 1/2-years, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of attempting to rape a woman and attempting to kill her two male companions at Torrey Pines State Beach. Officials say Hubbard, 29, is a “strong and viable suspect” in six similar beachfront attacks that began in mid-June.

As police on Thursday sketched out the details of the 10-week crime rampage, an eerily consistent pattern emerged.

In the series of seven attacks, the method hardly varied. Each occurred between the hours of 1 to 4 a.m. on beaches in northern San Diego, Del Mar and Solana Beach. Always, the masked attacker used a gun to threaten his victims, who were all in their teens or early 20s.

“Each of the cases involved a robbery attempt--wallet, ID, keys, money,” said Assistant Police Chief Cal Krosch. “And, in most, if not all of the cases, (there was) at least an attempted sexual assault if not a completed sexual assault.”

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In an odd twist, the attacker preyed upon couples or groups instead of solitary victims. In every instance, he approached young women who were accompanied by one or more companions--always one of them male.

The victims were startled after late-night swims or awakened as they slept on the beach. And, in more than one instance, survivors reported that their attacker ordered his female victims to tie up their male companions. Usually he used duct tape instead of rope, police said.

Once they began, the attacks came frequently--at least every few weeks. By late July, after five assaults had been reported, the pattern was so clear that San Diego police issued a press release warning the public that a suspected rapist was prowling local beaches at night.

Police said the first incident occurred June 15 on a Del Mar beach. At 3 a.m., a man and a woman were robbed near 21st Street and Camino del Mar, and the assailant attempted to rape the woman.

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Less than three weeks later, on July 4, another couple were accosted between 1 and 2 a.m. in Solana Beach, near South Sierra Avenue. They were robbed and the woman was sexually assaulted.

Two days later, the attacker struck at Windansea Beach in La Jolla, near the 7000 block of Neptune Place. Police said a 22-year-old woman was asleep on the beach with a male friend when a masked man woke them about 2 a.m. The man tied up her friend, sexually assaulted her and took their money, police said.

On July 19, at 2:19 a.m., the attacker was back in Solana Beach, near the 800 block of South Sierra Avenue. There, he robbed a man and woman, both 19, and sexually assaulted the woman.

The next night, at 2:45 a.m., police say the man revisited another previous site near Windansea Beach. Two girls, ages 13 and 14, were walking in the 6900 block of Neptune Place with a male friend when they were stopped by a gunman. The girls were forced to bind their companion and then were raped, police said.

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On Aug. 10, at 2:17 a.m., a 25-year-old couple was approached near Stratford Court in Del Mar by a man police believe to be the same attacker. This time, however, when the man attempted to rob them, the victims were able to flee.

The final incident, police say, occurred at 3:50 a.m. Thursday, when a young woman and two male friends emerged from the ocean after a predawn swim. The woman encountered the attacker first, and her screams brought her companions running from the water. When the woman refused to tie up one of her friends, the attacker began to do it himself, and she fled unharmed.

A struggle ensued, police said. Six shots were fired, and the two men were shot and wounded.

Beach Assaults

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All victims were in their late teens and early 20s. Assailant often bound victims with duct tape, attempted robbery in every case, sometimes sexual assault. Police are still determining what type of mask was worn.

1. Saturday, June 15, 3 a.m.: 21st Street and Camino Del Mar, Del Mar.

Victims: male and female.

Robbery and attempted rape.

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2. Thursday, July 4, between 1-2 a.m.: South Sierra Avenue, Solana Beach.

Victims: male and female.

Robbery and sexual assault.

3. Saturday, July 6, 2 a.m.: 7000 block of Neptune Place (Windansea Beach), La Jolla.

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Victims: male and female.

Robbery and sexual assault.

4. Friday, July 19, 2:19 a.m.: 800 South Sierra Ave., Solana Beach.

Victims: male and female.

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Robbery and sexual assault.

5. Saturday, July 20, 2:45 a.m.: Neptune Place (Windansea Beach), La Jolla. Victims: male and and two females.

Robbery and two sexual assaults.

6. Saturday, Aug. 10, 2:17 a.m.: Stratford Court, Del Mar

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Victims: male and female.

Attempted robbery; victims fled.

7. Thursday, Aug. 15, 3:50 a.m.: Torrey Pines State Beach.

Victims: female and two males.

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Attempted robbery.


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