San Diego police are searching for a man accused of sexually assaulting a child Monday in the Chollas View neighborhood.
A 12-year-old girl who was walking alone Monday evening was forced into a car at gunpoint near 47th Street and F Street, officials said.
The pre-teen was then sexually assaulted in a drainage ditch a few blocks away, police said.
The victim described her attacker as an African-American man, approximately 40 to 50 years of age, wearing a black mask, shirt and pants and driving an older, black SUV or van.
Lt. Mike Holden with the Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit said the girl called for help from a gas station on the corner of 47th and Market around 6:30 p.m.
After police arrived, they sent the girl to a nearby hospital, but she was not admitted, Holden said.
The location of the alleged assault is a just blocks from Chollas Elementary School, Chollas/Mead Elementary School, Gompers Junior High School and Gompers High School.
Parents were shocked to hear about the brazen assault.
“The little girl’s lucky to be alive. Her and her family are blessed in that way," Katherine Masel said. "But for a crime like that to happen in this neighborhood, it’s just terrible.”
“It makes me angry they would target a young child. This young lady has just begun her life, and he’s taken her innocence away,” Joyce Mullen said.
On Tuesday, the director of Gompers Preparatory Academy sent a note home to parents:
Due to an incident that is currently under investigation by San Diego Police Department, we urge you to take extra precaution to keep your children safe and be on the lookout for suspicious behavior.
The note also included safety tips for students who walk home, including letting parents know which route they're going to take and not taking shortcuts.
Officials said the girl did not know her attacker.
No arrest has been made.