Authorities are attempting to identify a man who sexually assaulted two women in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles after trespassing into the apartment they were in and tying them up, police said Thursday.
Officers became aware of the situation after responding to a hot-prowl burglary radio call in the 400 block of North Ogden Drive around 11:50 p.m. on Monday, according to a statement from the Los Angeles Police Department.
Neighbors told KTLA the two women, who were recent college graduates in their 20s, had just moved into the apartment earlier that day and were hanging up curtains when the predator entered their home.
Investigators determined the man was armed with a handgun when he entered the apartment. He then bound both women's hands and sexually assaulted them, officials said.
Eventually, the victims' screaming caused the man to flee the apartment, according to police.
A neighbor who did not want to be identified said she encountered the victims around midnight after she heard screams and went outside to a shared courtyard area to check up on things. The women ran out, frightened and nude, and told her he had threatened to kill them if they didn't comply.
“I yelled out, ‘Are you OK?’ and the screaming got louder," she recalled. "And then these girls emerged from the building over and they were screaming, ‘He’s got a gun, he’s got a knife, he wants to kill us’ — and they were naked.”
The neighbor said she quickly rushed the two into her apartment.
“I’ve never seen trauma like that,” she told KTLA.
Jen An, who also lives nearby, described the screams as "blood-curdling."
“It was really a terrified woman screaming,” An said.
A man who lives in the neighborhood said he noticed a man who matched the suspect's description in the area about two hours before the attack.
“I think clearly he was casing the place," he said. "He saw two women moving in. He’s a coward and saw an opportunity, I guess.”
The apartment now sits empty, neighbors said, as the women moved out immediately after the violent assault.
The suspect is described as a white man with a short, gray beard between 30 and 40 years old. He is roughly 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall and weighs around 160 to 180 pounds, officials said.
Anyone with information, including any possible additional victims of the man, can contact LAPD's detectives at 213-486-6910, or at 877-527-3247 during non-business hours. Anonymous tips may be submitted via 800-222-8477 or at www.lacrimestoppers.org.