Lake View community reacts to attempted sexual assaults minutes apart

Community members jumped into action as a woman was attacked in a busy Chicago neighborhood Monday night, and it wasn't the only attempted sexual assault to unfold in the area.

Police are now searching for a man who they say tried to sexually assault two women in Lake View within 10 minutes. It prompted police to issue a community alert Tuesday.

In one case, the victim fought off her attacker. In another, it was neighbors who came to the rescue.

"All the windows and doors were closed, and we still heard piercing screams, and it was continuous," said Lori David, who lives in Lake View. "[A neighbor] saw him grab her, so she said she started screaming too, and ran out with her dogs."

The first incident happened around 9 p.m. Monday in the 700 block of West Brompton Avenue.

Police say a 25-year-old woman was walking eastbound when a male offender grabbed her from behind, said he had a gun, and told the victim not to turn around.

"She had gone to the grocery store, and she thought he wanted her groceries. She tried to give that to him, and he grabbed her," said David.

The offender attempted to sexually assault the victim, who then started screaming, prompting nearby residents to intervene.

"We looked out and saw a crowd forming so we ran out," said David. "There was a woman sitting on the sidewalk sobbing."

The offender fled on foot, according to police, and witnesses said they saw him jump over a nearby brick wall.

David says community members called 911 and waited with the victim for police to respond.

"Even in a really tragic situation, it was encouraging to see so many people come out, so many people sitting with her, people circling the block," said David.

Only 10 minutes later, in the 800 block of West Buckingham Place, a 23-year-old woman was walking eastbound when she heard someone walking quickly behind her.

Police say the victim was tackled to the ground. The offender then got on top of her and made inappropriate sexual comments before she fought him off, police said.

Some neighbors tell FOX 32 Chicago the incidents add to their growing frustrations.

"Within the past couple months, I feel like there’s been a pretty big uptick in crime," said Peter McHugh, who lives nearby. "Streets that you would expect to be more protected. Halsted, people are getting mugged on Halsted. It’s a little ridiculous if you ask me."

He added: "Just as a community, I think we all just need to step up, be a little more vigilant, protect each other, ‘see something, say something’ sort of thing."

Alderman Bennett Lawson (44th Ward) issued the following statement in response to the attempted sexual assaults:

"I am disgusted, angry and deeply upset by the attempted sexual assaults that occurred last night in Lakeview. Everyone deserves to be and feel safe in our community, and I will work tirelessly with the 19th District police to try to identify the perpetrator and prevent this from happening again. I encourage anyone with information to call 312-744-8261. I am incredibly grateful for those who took action to stop one of the attempted assaults – it’s that sense of community and shared responsibility that makes our neighborhood so strong."

In a community alert, police described the suspect as a black man in his 20s or 30s, approximately 5-foot-7, and heavyset. He had a buzzed haircut or was bald, according to investigators, and was wearing white clothing.

Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to contact the Bureau of Detectives – Area Three at 312-744-8261.