On Wednesday, July 2, 2014, at approx. 4:30 p.m., a female was attacked in the parking lot of a local shopping center located in the 4000 block of Atlantic Avenue, and investigators are hoping that someone may be able to identify the suspect from a composite sketch.
The victim, a 32-year-old Long Beach resident, was wearing a black hijab, a cover worn by Muslim women over their head to conceal their hair and neck. She was parked in the shopping center parking lot adjacent to the alley that runs north and south and just west of the shopping center, and loading items into her car. It was then that she was approached from behind by a male suspect on foot, who took hold of her hijab in his hand.
The suspect cursed at the victim while referring to the cover as a "hijab," indicating he had some knowledge of the Muslim culture. He forcibly pulled and twisted the hijab as he attempted to remove it, which choked the victim, and caused scratches and abrasions to her neck. The suspect then walked southbound down the alley with the hijab.
The victim was able to provide a description of the suspect, and worked with detectives to create a composite sketch. The suspect is described as follows:
· A male white in his 30's
· Approximately 5’8” to 5’9” tall
· A thin build
· Short brown hair and brown eyes
· A trimmed brown mustache and beard
· Was wearing a white buttoned-up shirt, black pants, and possibly black shoes
This crime incited fear in the victim for her life and safety. Due to the circumstances, this incident is being investigated as a hate crime. The L.B.P.D. has not have not had any similar crimes reported recently, and believe this to be an isolated incident. However, if anyone has been a victim of a similar crime, we would urge them to immediately come forward.
“This incident occurred during the day in a busy shopping center and we are hoping that someone may have witnessed the encounter or saw the suspect leaving the area, and can provide us with additional information,” stated Police Chief Jim McDonnell. “Crimes of this nature will not be tolerated in our city and we will continue our efforts to find the suspect and hold him accountable.”
Anyone with information should contact the L.B.P.D.’s Violent Crimes Detail at (562) 570-7250. Anonymous tips may be submitted by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), texting TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or visiting www.lacrimestoppers.org.