Separate attacks this week on two young women on or near Camden Street in Roxbury have residents on edge, as police released a composite sketch Thursday of the suspect and stepped up patrols in the area.
“It’s scary. My daughter is 13 and she goes to the school nearby, and there are times when I’m running late and just let her walk over by herself, but not anymore,” said Eva Lopez, 38, who has lived on the street for nine years.
The first attack occurred Monday at 6:45 p.m., when a suspect described as a baby-faced Hispanic male in his late teens approached a 17-year-old female walking on Camden Street. The suspect engaged her in conversation and then grabbed her around the neck, said Boston police.
The victim wrestled with the suspect and screamed before escaping. The suspect fled.
The next night, at 7:25 p.m., a man described as a non-Hispanic black with a Haitian accent and a medium build approached a teenage woman from behind and said he had a gun. He attempted to drag her to a secluded area, but she fought him off and the suspect fled down Camden Street near Shawmut Avenue, police said.
Police believe the same person may have committed both assaults. In both cases, the suspect commented on the victim’s appearance before or during the attack, police said.
Camden Street runs through two large apartment complexes, buildings occupied by many families and young children.
Many residents said they had heard about the attacks from television newscasts. But others were not aware of them, including Katherine Perez, 21, who has lived on the street for a dozen years and often parks her car late at night.
“I know a lot of people here, so I tend to feel safe most of the time,” Perez said. “But it’s really terrible to hear this.”
She found a parking spot Thursday afternoon near the stretch of the street where the attacks reportedly occurred, near 50-60 Camden St. “I always walk in the middle of the street and I keep my eyes open,” she said.
Trinece Benson, 45, who learned of the attacks Wednesday evening, said, “I hope this doesn’t happen again.”
Her daughters come home late after work or school.
“I just go pick them up, if I can, and if I can’t, because I work late at night, I make sure someone else can for me,” Benson said.
Police spokeswoman Cheryl Fiandaca said that additional patrols are being conducted in the area and that investigators are hopeful that the composite sketch released Thursday will generate leads.
Two residents who live near where the attacks occurred seemed to recognize the person depicted in the sketch, with one man immediately telling a reporter, “Yeah, I’ve seen him playing basketball here before.”
A woman said she recognized the man as “someone who hangs around.”
Police are advising women to be aware of their surroundings in the area and to avoid walking alone late at night.