Police Clear Potential Suspect in Sexual Assault Case

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Photo by Matthew Zamudio

A person of interest matching the description of a man who sexually assaulted a University City woman over the weekend has been determined to have no connection to the assault.

Police took the man into custody Tuesday night after a campus police officer spotted him at a bus stop near Gilman Drive and thought he fit the description of the suspect. When the officer made eye contact with the man at about 7 p.m., he ran into a nearby canyon, prompting San Diego police officers to set up a perimeter around the ravine. Equipped with K-9 units and a police helicopter, police officers quickly located the man hiding in the brush.

The man, whose name has not been released, was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance and resisting arrest.

San Diego police Lt. Paul Phillips said the man is not considered a suspect in the case.

Police are still searching for the suspect who beat and raped a woman at the Venetian Apartments on Nobel Drive Saturday night. In a community alert email issued by the UCSD police department, the suspect was described as a “black male adult, 25 to 30 years old, 5 foot 9 inches to 5 foot 11 inches, approximately 180 pounds with a medium or athletic build.”

The suspect has short black hair and a short black beard. He was wearing a gray hoodie, gray shorts with red stripes on the sides, black sneakers and a backpack on Saturday night.

On the night of the attack, the suspect followed the woman to her apartment door, where he threw her onto the floor, pulled a black handgun and demanded she give him money. After complying with his request, the assailant choked the woman and forced her into the apartment, where he sexually assaulted her.

As of Wednesday, the victim remains hospitalized with multiple facial fractures, police said.

With the assailant still at large, the UCSD police department is urging students and civilians to be “vigilant no matter what part of town they are in.”

“Students should travel in groups if possible,” said UCSD police Det. Lucas Liu. “Students should try to remain in busy, well-lit pathways and should always be aware of their surroundings.”

Det. Liu also encourages students to utilize UCSD’s Safety Escort Program by calling (858) 534-WALK if they would like a safety escort from dusk to dawn.

Anyone with information about the incident, the suspect or his whereabouts should call San Diego Police Department’s Sex Crimes Unit at (619) 531-2210 or leave an anonymous with Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-4357.

Crime Stoppers is offering $1000 to anyone with information that can lead to the assailant’s arrest.