Wednesday, August 29, 2007


YOUNG WOMAN'S desperate, blood-curdling screams echoed through a Feltonville neighborhood yesterday, jolting residents out of their early- morning slumber.
As the moon reddened from a full lunar eclipse, the 18-year-old woman's blood spilled in an alley on Boudinot Street near Roosevelt Boulevard: She had just been raped while waiting for a bus, and apparently had cut herself with a knife while trying to fight off her attacker.

The woman's terrified shrieks drew several people out of their homes. A middle-age man rushed to her side, scared off the rapist, and carried the woman into a neighbor's house, where she sobbed uncontrollably, battered and bloodied, until police and medics arrived.

The rape left residents rattled, and several said they hoped to leave their drug-infested neighborhood.

Police investigators meanwhile tried to compile information on the rapist, eager to get the violent predator off the streets.

"It's unfortunate that there are always those out there that are going to take an opportunity if they can to hurt an innocent victim," said Capt. John Darby, of the police Special Victims Unit.

Darby said the attack occurred shortly before 6 a.m. The attacker skulked up behind the woman while she was waiting at a bus stop for her ride to work. He dragged her into a nearby alley, raped her and possibly robbed her, Darby said.

The victim was treated at Episcopal Hospital and released.

The attacker is described as a light-skinned black, 19 or 20 years old, about 5-feet-7, and 180 to 190 pounds. He wore a red baseball cap, Darby said.

"These are very difficult situations to deal with, because when you have a victim that is attacked from behind, it's hard to react," Darby said.

Ruth Summers, 64, said her neighbor - a man in his late 40s whom she knows only as Wendell - scared the rapist away and carried the victim into Summers' house on Roosevelt Boulevard to call 911.

"The girl was hysterical. There was blood on her hand. She said she tried to use a knife to fight him off, and she ended up getting cut," Summers said.

"I felt so bad. She was so young. Her clothes were a mess and she just kept sobbing and sobbing and sobbing."

Summers said her neighborhood is rife with crime and drugs. "Someone broke into my house over the summer," she said. "My son and I want to move."

Other residents expressed similar sentiments.

"I can't even begin to imagine what that girl went through," said a neighbor, Iliana, who asked that her last name not be used.

"I mean, it just gives me goosebumps just thinking about it," she said, tears welling in her eyes.

"People are saying now that it's time to move. It's sad, though, so sad, because now that this has happened, it's making people step back and think twice."

On Boudinot Street yesterday, children flocked around an ice-cream truck and tried to soak up the last bits of summer fun amid police cruisers and crime-scene tape.

Tipsters can contact the Special Victims Unit, at 215-686-3251.

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