Arrest made in Southwest Side attacks, charges pending

An arrest has been made in connection with a series of attacks near an Orange Line station on the city's Southwest Side.
An arrest has been made in connection with a series of attacks near an Orange Line station on the city's southwest side.

Chicago Police Friday night confirm a person of interest is in custody, and charges are pending. The arrest made Friday after the man allegedly tried to sexually-assault a woman, the attack stopped by two witnesses.

In two Chicago neighborhoods where residents had been on edge, there is relief.

"Just happy he's off the streets," said Homero Gutierrez. "Guys like that shouldn't be around, especially in this neighborhood where we have lots of kids.'

Milton Garcia and his cousin Homero Gutierrez say they encountered the suspect after their relative, Zulma Garza, was followed by the man in their Brighton Park neighborhood.

"I just felt really scared and unsafe," Garza said. "I was afraid he would somehow catch me or pounce on me or do something."

She says the man walked away after she notified Milton and Homero, who then followed him to the 3600 block of South Washtenaw.

"He thought the coast was clear," Garcia said. "He thought we were gone, and he turned around and seen another woman coming back the same direction as we were. And he hid, and he was trying to blend into the bushes. And he just tackled her to the ground."

"Seems like he's going to rape her," Gutierrez said. "We just start yelling. She starts yelling. We chase him off."

The two ran after the suspect, but he got away. Police eventually tracked him down.

The arrest comes more than a week after a man of similar description attacked a woman in a CTA parking lot off the 35th and Archer Orange Line stop in the McKinley Park neighborhood, the suspect knocking the victim down, lifting up her skirt and removing her underwear.

The following day, nearby resident January Dieppa says she encountered the suspect while walking her pit bull.

"Just a dead stare," Dieppa said. "He would not leave contact with my eyes, and I would not leave contact with his. If I did not have my dog with me, it would not have been a good outcome."

"It's been pretty tense," Gutierrez said. "Everyone's kind of jumpy, looking behind their backs. Now we're happy that he's just off the street."

Sources tell ABC7 Eyewitness News that the man in custody is a resident of the Brighton Park neighborhood, a short walk from that Orange Line stop. All of the attacks occurred within about a half a mile from each other.

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