Suspect might have attacked before | AspenTimes.com

Suspect might have attacked before

Police have released this composite sketch of the suspect in an assault in Basalt.

Police are investigating whether the suspect in a brutal assault on a Basalt woman at 3 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 5, also attacked a woman in Aspen an hour earlier.Basalt Police Chief Keith Ikeda said a man approached a woman from behind near the Rubey Park bus station in Aspen at about 2 a.m. Aug. 5 and struck her.An hour later, a woman was attacked and repeatedly hit in the face after she got off a Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus in Basalt, according to police. The man also kicked the victim after she fell to the ground. She was able to fight him off until her boyfriend arrived and chased the suspect away.Ikeda said it hasn’t been confirmed that the same man was responsible for both attacks, despite the similarities. Police know from reviewing videotape from a Rubey Park security camera that the suspect in the Basalt case was at the Aspen bus station when he could have caught the 2:15 a.m. bus downvalley. That’s the bus the victim was on.That also placed him in the vicinity of the attack in Aspen.The Basalt victim’s boyfriend said he suspects the same man was responsible for the attacks. His girlfriend talked to the Aspen victim and reached the conclusion the attacker was the same, he said.Surprise attack

Chad Keran, the victim’s boyfriend, said his girlfriend was nervous about the behavior of four men riding the same bus as her. They all got off at the same stop, at the main Basalt stoplight by the Diamond Shamrock.Here’s the woman’s recollection of events as Keran recounted: She allowed the four men to pass her on foot so that no one was behind her. She walked to a well-lit area at the Basalt Store and looked for the pay phone because the battery was drained on her cell phone. She called Keran but had difficulty relaying a message because the phone was malfunctioning.Keran said that during a three-minute conversation, the only words he could hear were “Diamond Shamrock” and “terrified.” He told his girlfriend that he was coming right away from their Columbine apartment and to call 911.A Latino male who was apparently hanging out by some trees by two restaurants close to the Basalt Store then approached the woman. He approached her and asked if she was OK. She screamed at him to get away while she was in the process of calling 911. Police dispatchers also had difficulty hearing the woman on the malfunctioning telephone, and at one point the call was disconnected.Woman fights backThe man who had approached the victim departed but then snuck up on her from a different direction and, while she was at the phone, hit her several times, according to the report. The woman fought back by using the telephone receiver to strike her attacker and by biting him when he covered her mouth to prevent her from screaming. “She bit the hell out of his finger,” Keran said.While the struggle was taking place, Keran arrived at the Basalt Store by car and ran to his girlfriend’s aid. The attacker fled. Keran caught him and pushed him down. The attacker slid across the cement of a parking lot by the store and possibly skinned his face. Keran grabbed the man as he got to his feet, they struggled for a while, and the attacker escaped when his sweatshirt slid off into Keran’s hands.

Keran said some other men in the area demanded to know what was going on and helped pursue the suspect when he told them. They chased the attacker to the east but lost him on the upvalley side of the Stubbies building.Basalt police continued the search with the aid of Eagle and Pitkin County deputies. The suspect eluded capture.Keran said his girlfriend suffered two black eyes, including one that was swollen shut. There were imprints on her lips from the attacker pressing his hand over her mouth so hard to shut her up. Her side was also black and blue from getting kicked.The recovery from the physical injuries is only part of the necessary healing. “The whole emotional part is taking a toll on her,” Keran said. “The trauma is definitely getting to her.”She is concerned that her attacker is still loose and could attack again. She wants women, particularly teens, to realize this type of incident can happen in the Roaring Fork Valley, according to Keran.He said his girlfriend did all the right things by moving to a well-lit spot, calling for help and fighting like hell. The attacker could have easily overpowered many woman.They described the suspect as a Latino male, about 5 feet, 8 inches tall and 165 pounds, with a dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair. A sketch was made from descriptions by the victim. Keran said he also got a good look at the man and would recognize him.

Ikeda said police have investigated some possible sightings of the man, but no leads panned out. The suspect will likely have clear injuries to his finger or hand where the victim bit him, the police chief said.”The main thing is she gave out as good as she got,” Ikeda said.Anyone with information about the Basalt incident should contact Sgt. Jose Chavira at the Basalt Police Department, 927-4316.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com.