Authorities have finally apprehended the man believed to be responsible for the brutal attacks on elderly women in downtown and East Los Angeles after an intense two-week search.
Suspect Sergio Andrew Garcia, 21, Arrested
During a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna announced the arrest of the suspect, Sergio Andrew Garcia, 21. Garcia is accused of committing his first assault on a woman on July 10 about 8:35 a.m. while she was crossing Olympic Boulevard beneath the Harbour (110) Motorway. Garcia attempted to sexually assault her and forcibly remove her clothing.
Additional Assaults Linked to the Suspect
The following morning, around 10:45 a.m., Garcia approached another woman from behind near Crypto.com Arena in the area of Chick Hearn Court and Georgia Street, slapped her back, and then fled the scene. Over the weekend of July 15, Garcia is suspected of committing three more crimes in East Los Angeles. Around 6:15 a.m., a senior citizen cleaning up her front garden in the 1000 block of Fraser Avenue was the target of the first attack.
The Scope of Garcia's Crimes
City and county investigators believe that Sergio Andrew Garcia may be linked to eight or more assaults in the Los Angeles area, many of which were violent and sexual in nature. Sheriff Robert Luna expressed his relief at the arrest, calling Garcia a "horrible deviant" who needed to be taken off the streets. There are concerns that there may be additional unreported attacks, and authorities are urging potential victims and witnesses to come forward.
Collaboration and International Arrest
Local investigators worked in conjunction with federal marshals and managed to track Garcia down to Tijuana, Mexico. He was apprehended on Tuesday with the aid of the Mexican authorities and returned to Los Angeles, where he was lodged in the county jail. Garcia had a $4 million bail set.
The Attack on Rosalina Martinez
One of the reported assaults was against 67-year-old Rosalina Martinez, who was attacked while cleaning her front yard early on the morning of July 15. She was violently dragged to the ground and repeatedly punched in the face. Neighbors came to her aid upon hearing her cries for help and were able to capture a video of the suspect, which proved crucial in identifying him. Martinez suffered a broken nose, bruises, and scrapes to her face and knees and is currently recovering at home after being hospitalized.
Other Attacks Linked to the Suspect
Several other attacks have been connected to the suspect:
July 10, around 8:35 a.m.: Near the LA Live complex, on Olympic Boulevard and Albany, a 31-year-old woman was being followed on foot. The woman tried to move aside since she didn't feel comfortable with the man walking behind her, but he grabbed her, threw her to the ground, and then made advances towards her sexually. She was able to release herself and flee.
July 11: Around 10:45 a.m., a 22-year-old lady was smacked on the back and then sexually assaulted on Chick Hearn Court, also close to LA Live, before the suspect rode away on a bicycle.
On July 15: Just hours after the brutal assault against Rosalina Martinez, around 9:20 a.m., a 51-year-old woman was attacked and robbed in the 1300 block of South Alvarado. The attack caused her to lose consciousness and suffer bruises and abrasions.
The apprehension of Sergio Andrew Garcia brings relief to the community, but authorities remain vigilant in case of any additional incidents that might come to light. The cooperation between law enforcement agencies and international authorities underscores the determination to bring justice to the victims and ensure public safety in Los Angeles.