Suspect held in South L.A. sexual assaults

Police arrested a man Monday who is suspected of rape and attempted rape in a string of South Los Angeles attacks, including the sexual assault of a woman left in grave condition, LAPD officials said.

Shortly before 1 a.m. Monday, a sergeant with the Los Angeles Police Department witnessed an attack on a woman in her 30s near a cluster of bus benches near Normandie and Manchester avenues, LAPD spokeswoman Norma Eisenman said. A perimeter was set up and the suspect was captured.

Eisenman said the department was not releasing details about the case. The suspect, whose name was not immediately released pending the investigation, is believed to be involved in a series of attacks that began Friday morning.

The first two attacks occurred near Western and Manchester avenues Friday at 2 a.m., according to sources familiar with the case. In the first attack, the suspect tried to rape a female transient but was foiled by a passerby.

A short time later, he wielded a fake handgun and tried to assault a second woman, the sources said. The woman, who lost several teeth in the struggle, wrested the weapon away from the suspect and tried to fire it at him. When she realized it wasn’t real, she hit him with it.


The suspect is also believed to have raped a 78-year-old woman about 9 that evening in an apartment nearby.

LAPD officials said that in the Monday attack the victim was severely beaten and was listed in critical condition at an area hospital. Police say there may be other victims in the case.