A 50-year-old Bronx woman endured one of the most horrific experiences imaginable after using the public restroom at a local Walgreens.
According to the New York Daily News, the woman entered a unisex bathroom after a man had finished using it. After the woman finished and opened the door to exit, the same man forced her back into the bathroom. He had been waiting for her on the other side of the door.
The NYDN reports the man told her while knocking her to the floor:
Covering the woman’s mouth when she started screaming, he forcibly put his hand down her pants. The store manager reportedly heard the muffled cries for help and ran to the scene, reports WABC.
Manager David Aponte pulled the alleged attacker off the woman, who then fled the store. Police released video surveillance of the man entering the store that afternoon.Screenshot/WABC
The man was described as a black male in his early to mid-30s, approximately six foot two and 180 pounds, wearing a gray sweatshirt, white T-shirt, blue jeans, and black and white sneakers.
CBS New York reports that following the news of the attack, patrons were stunned to learn it happened in broad daylight and in a public setting:
“I was shocked because it could have been me right, could have been anybody,” Sheneca Nelson told CBS2’s Jessica Layton.
“That’s incredible, it happened here in Walgreens in the middle of the day — just shows how sometimes unsafe we are,” Randy Kearse added.
Police have since arrested the man allegedly responsible for the attack.
28-year-old Victor Augustus, who is reported to be homeless, was arrested and charged with attempted rape, sex abuse, forcible touching, assault, and harassment.
This is reportedly Augustus’s third arrest for sexual assault. He is being held on $100,000 bond.
According to CBS New York, Walgreens refused to comment or to allow Aponte to speak on the incident; however, customers want it to be known how highly they think of the store manager:
“He’s a hero indeed,” Allie Berry said.
“He’s an angel and thank god he was around,” Tracey Cooper added.
Although seemingly rare, the alleged attack against the Bronx woman is disturbing enough to approach public bathrooms with extra caution.
Earlier this year, a Seattle-area woman’s story gained national attention after she fended off an attack by a registered sex offender in a public bathroom.
Kelly Herron was engaged in the “fight of her life” after stopping to use a park bathroom while jogging. Herron credited a self-defense class she had recently for her escape. In an interview with ABC 7, she explained some of the techniques she used to get away:
“I learned to put your hard bones in soft fleshy places. So I just started beating the side of his head with the side of my hand.”
Experts advised anyone who found themselves in a similar situation to “be loud and fight back as hard as you possibly can,” which Herron wanted others to know as well.
She told KIRO 7 at the time: “Being loud and not afraid. I mean you are afraid, but letting him know, ‘you are not taking me down today. You are not going to win this fight.’”