Suspect in Lake Eola Heights attack sought by police

A woman was attacked near Lake Eola, and the man who did it is still out there. Police say a neighbor stepped in to help the victim and pulled the man off her.

Investigators are following up on a few leads, and neighbors are hoping they find the man sooner rather than later.  In this quiet, historic Lake Eola Heights neighborhood, residents said they don’t expect to be attacked.

“Everybody kind of looks out for one another and keeps an eye on things, very close-knit neighborhood,” said neighbor Mark Kinchla.

But now police officers are looking for a suspect, described as a six-foot-tall black man. Orlando Police released a sketch of the suspect who is wanted for attacking a woman at her Cathcart Avenue apartment after she had been walking her dog home from Lake Eola on Wednesday night.

“Anytime something happens like that, you’re concerned,” said Kinchla.

According to a police incident report, the woman saw the suspect when she was going home and thought the man was going to her neighbor’s place. Instead, officers said he barged in her door and covered her mouth. She screamed until the neighbors came out, confronting the man and eventually pulling him out of the apartment, pushing him to go downstairs.

Police said the man kept trying to come back, claiming he left something inside but eventually ran off. The neighborhood is grateful someone stepped in.

“Thank goodness that someone was alert, a neighbor was alert enough to be able to assist and aid the woman who was in need,” said Neighborhood Watch Coordinator Tracey Jacobs.

Jacobs says this is a low-crime area. She’s been in touch with police and Commissioner Patty Sheehan to make sure no one gets away with an attack like this.

“The sad thing of it is we always have to be alert. We always have to be aware of our surroundings,” said Jacobs.

Police are following up on a couple of leads and have received several Crimeline tips. If you know who the man is or have video footage of what happened Wednesday night, call Orlando Police or Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).