A Staten Island man has been charged in a series of brutal sex attacks on women and a teenage girl earlier this week and is facing charges in one more attack, NYPD officials said.
Taylor Hawkins, 27, was arrested Wednesday on charges including attempted rape, robbery, sex abuse, and assault following the attacks over a one-hour span near his home Tuesday morning.
Authorities also charged the man with attempted robbery and forcible touching for an attack on Aug. 21 when he allegedly groped a woman on Henderson Avenue and tried to steal her handbag.
Law enforcement sources told News 4 that officers found the man inside a vehicle connected to the scenes of the attacks and was being questioned Wednesday morning. He was driving in the same area where Tuesday's sex attacks happened, and police believe he lives in the area.
Police had released surveillance images of a person of interest in the violent sex attack spree.
"I'm so happy, I'm ecstatic," said Jeffrey Wiesemann-Irizarry, a resident in the New Brighton neighborhood where the suspect was caught. "I hope they put this guy away for a long time."
Hawkins is accused of attacking at least four people Tuesday morning, beginning at 6 a.m. He groped a 50-year-old woman walking her dogs in Tompkinsville, according to police, then attacked his other two victims -- ages 64 and 14 -- while they were at at bus stops in the same neighborhood. Details of the attack at 2:30 a.m. weren't immediately available.
Law enforcement sources told News 4 the suspect told two of the women, "I'm going to rape you."
Authorities said the first woman attacked was walking her dog about 5:45 a.m. when the man grabbed her around the neck, dragged her to the ground and stuck his hands down her pants. When the woman screamed, authorities said the man ran away.
Then, at 6:20 a.m., the man approached the 64-year-old as she stepped off an MTA bus at Henderson and Westbury avenues. Police said the man slapped the woman in the face and fled.
Eight minutes later, police said the attacker wrestled a 42-year-old woman to the ground as she waited for a bus at Castleton Avenue and Hunter Place. He again stuck his hand down the woman's pants, but he also punched her in the face when she screamed or help. The man again ran off, police said.
Finally, at 6:45 a.m., the man approached a 14-year-old girl as she waited at a bus stop at Castleton and Havenwood avenues. Police said he tackled her to the ground as well and this time tried to force her to perform a criminal sex act.
Police said the girl bit the man, stopping the attack and prompting the suspect to hop in an SUV and drive away.
The girl ran for help at a nearby deli.
"She came here crying and screaming, and my co-worker did everything he could," said a worker at the deli. "He calmed her down, he gave her a bottle of water."
Both women and the girl were taken to the hospital with minor injuries ranging from swollen faces to a cut to the mouth.
Details on the robbery earlier on Sept. 19 or the Aug. 21 attack weren't immediately available.
Attorney information for Hawkins wasn't immediately available. His mother and brother told News 4 they were also briefly detained when Hawkins was taken into custody, but did not comment on whether he had anything to do with the crimes.
Hawkins' former basketball coach, Peter Arroyo, said he was surprised to see police at his front door when he woke up Wednesday morning. He described his former player as "very well mannered."
"But people do strange things," he said. "I can't figure it out."