Tacoma police are searching for a man who assaulted a young disabled woman in Wapato Park earlier this month.
The crime is being investigated as a hate crime because of statements he made to the victim, police spokesman Mark Fulghum said. Detectives believe the man actually mistook what he saw.
“What he saw that he believed was their sexual orientation was in fact a caregiver who was holding onto the victim for her safety,” Fulghum said.
The 18-year-old victim, who is unable to walk or communicate without assistance, was with her caregiver at the park about 4:35 p.m. Nov. 5. The two were walking hand-in-hand in the parking lot in the 1400 block of 72nd Street South when a man approached.
” The suspect told the women they did not belong there, called the women ‘lesbians,’ then grabbed the victim by her hair and scratched her,” Tacoma-Pierce County Crime Stoppers reported today.
The caregiver pulled the victim away from the suspect and the man ran off. The victim’s injuries were described as minor, Fulghum said.
Crime Stoppers released a composite sketch of the man today. Fulghum said a detective has been working on the case since the attack.
He’s described as white, 25 to 30 years old and 6 feet tall with a medium build. He had brown hair, brown eyes and thick eyebrows. During the attack, he wore blue jeans and a gray hooded sweatshirt over a bright green shirt.
“We hope that somebody will recognize the suspect in this and contact the police department to let us know who he is,” Fulghum said.
Crime Stoppers is offering up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest and charges filed in the case. Tipsters can remain anonymous.
Reach Crime Stoppers at 253-591-5959.