Woman Sexually Assaulted at Knifepoint, Twice, in Balboa Park

The suspect first threatened the woman as she walked to her car on 8th Avenue and then led her into Balboa Park where the first alleged sex assault occurred

A woman was sexually assaulted twice in Balboa Park Thursday night by an unknown man wielding a knife, the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) confirmed.

Police said the alleged attacks happened around 10 p.m., the first encounter along the 1600 block of 8th Avenue, as the victim walked to her car parked on 9th Avenue.

As the woman walked, an unknown man confronted her and pulled a knife on the victim, police said. The man threatened to kill her if she didn’t follow his orders.

“The suspect brandished a knife and threatened to harm the victim if she didn’t do what he told her to do,” explained SDPD Capt. Brian Ahearn.

Police said the man demanded the victim walk with him into Balboa Park. He made her walk with him down Date Street, near the Interstate 5 fence. As they made their way to the park, he continued to threaten the woman with the knife.

When they got to a staircase on 6th Avenue, police said they went up those stairs and entered Balboa Park. That's where the man sexually assaulted the woman, police said.

"It's unspeakable what the suspect forced the victim to do," said Ahearn.

The suspect then forced the woman to walk back to the 1600 block of 9th Avenue near Cortez Hill. At that second location, he sexually assaulted her once more, police said.

The man fled the scene. When officers arrived, he was nowhere to be found.

As of 10 a.m. Saturday, he remained at large.

SDPD Sex Crimes detectives said the suspect is described as a Hispanic man with a medium build and medium-toned complexion in his mid-20s, standing between 5-foot-5 and 5-foot-8. He had short, black hair worn slicked back and a thin "chin-strap" type beard along his jawline.

According to the sex assault victim, the man had very distinct tattoos on both forearms and on his chest including red roses that appeared a bit old and faded on his right upper forearm. He also had the letter "F" on the middle of his forearm and the "LA" logo on his right wrist.

On his left forearms, he had tattoos of the words “family, money, respect” surrounded by rosary beads, which were half encircled at the top, police said. The suspect also had a tattoo of the word “California” written across his chest.

He wore a black T-shirt, dark blue Dickies-style pants and old and worn black sneakers.

The police department released a sketch of the suspect Friday night. Anyone who recognizes the suspect can call the SDPD Sex Crimes unit at (619) 531-2210 Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest.

No further details were immediately released. The investigation is ongoing.

Residents in the Balboa Park area told NBC 7 the incident is extremely scary. One local said she plans to carry pepper spray with her on walks from here on out and is thinking about training her dog to better protect her.

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