CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Police say an attack on a woman near Appalachian Power Park in Charleston Tuesday night was highly unusual.
“In that area at that time especially,” said Charleston Police Sgt. Tony Hazelett. “There was people coming in and out of Power Park and there was a lot of foot traffic and vehicle traffic.”
The victim had parked her car in the 1300 block of Smith Street and was walking toward the park to meet up with her husband when he got off work. The woman was approached by a man asking for money. Hazelett said the woman politely told him she had no money and kept walking, but the suspect followed her.
“The male kept following her, she stepped up her pace and he was still following her,” Hazelett said. “When she went to take off running, he grabbed her by the hair of the head, pulled her to the ground, and dragged her behind a brick building and sexually assaulted her.”
The suspect fled the scene on foot when the attack was over. He’s described as a white male in his 50s, 5’10”, medium build with tattoos on his arms, long stringy gray hair with an unshaven face. The victim told police he looked like a homeless man.
Sgt. Hazelett said the woman did everything that is normally recommended to protect herself from being a target.
“She didn’t want to sit in the car because she knew it wasn’t a safe parking area. She never provoked it,” said Hazelett. “She was polite and told him no she didn’t have any money. She picked up the pace and he followed her.”
The woman was taken to Charleston’s Women and Children’s Hospital where she was treated and released. Police said they are working to obtain video surveillance in the area which may have captured the man’s image both before and after the attack.