23-Year-Old Woman Ambushed in Front of NYC Church, Dragged Away in Violent Rape Attempt: Cops - NBC New York

23-Year-Old Woman Ambushed in Front of NYC Church, Dragged Away in Violent Rape Attempt: Cops

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    NEWSLETTERS

    News 4 Captures Arrest of Violent Rape Attempt Suspect

    News 4 cameras exclusively captured the arrest of a suspect in the violent rape attempt of a woman in front of a church in Washington Heights. Ida Siegal reports.

    (Published Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018)

    What to Know

    • Cops say they have arrested a suspect in connection with a violent attempted rape near a church in Washington Heights Monday

    • Police say the man ambushed the woman from behind, dragged her under a nearby awning and threatened to stab her if she screamed

    • Xavier Lazu, 20, is charged with attempted rape, criminal sex act and sex abuse, police said

    Cops say they have arrested the suspect in connection with a violent rape attempt in front of a church in Manhattan earlier this week. 

    News 4 cameras exclusively captured the suspect, identified as Xavier Lazu, 20, of Manhattan, wearing the same coat and same clothes as in the surveillance video released by police, being handcuffed on a street corner not far from where the alleged rape attempt happened on Monday night. 

    Lazu is charged with attempted rape, criminal sex act and sex abuse, police said. It wasn't immediately clear whether he had an attorney who could comment on the allegations against him. 

    Police say Lazu ran up to the 23-year-old woman from behind, wrapped his arms around her and put his hand over her mouth in front of St. Rose of Lima on 165th Street. It was dark, around 11:30 p.m. Monday. 

    Video Shows Man Wanted for Questioning in Violent Rape Attempt

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    Surveillance video shows the man entering a convenience store.
    (Published Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018)

    He then dragged the young woman under a nearby awning and threatened to stab her if she screamed, police say. He shoved her against a wall, pulled her pants down and tried to rape her, according to authorities. 

    Lazu wasn't able to have intercourse, and then forced the woman to perform oral sex on him, authorities say. He eventually ran off as a passerby approached him and the victim, who was taken to a hospital for evaluation. 

    "It's sad that happened, especially around a church in this community," said Washington Heights resident Erica Selma. "It's pretty safe here." 

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