BALTIMORE, Md. — Word of a sexual assault after a young woman got off of a bus at 10 p.m. last Wednesday on West Franklin Street has struck a nerve with others who depend on public transit.
"Yes, and I get off later than that. Oh my God," said a woman who did not wish to be identified with the suspects still at large.
"Have you ever been nervous about people when you get off of the bus who may be casing you?" reporter Jeff Hager asked.
"You just have to be alert,” she responded, “You have to be alert so I just keep looking around."
But for the four would-be rapists, two of whom appear in pictures from surveillance cameras on the bus, by the time the victim was aware of them, it was too late.
"When she gets off the bus, the assailants follow her off of the bus,” said Detective Nicole Monroe of the Baltimore City Police Department, “As she's walking, she feels uncomfortable. She steps to the side. She wants to let them pass. She realizes that she's being followed. Instead of passing, they pull out a gun, they stick it in her side, one of the individuals, and they push her into an alley and into a rear yard."
It was in a desolate area filled with trash, alcohol bottles and discarded mattresses where the four suspects began sexually assaulting their victim until alert neighbors interceded.
"Neighbors hear what's going on and they come outside and they disrupt the sexual assault,” said Monroe, “They fled and she's able to get away. Thank God the neighbors come out of their home and she's able to get free. If they hadn't come out of their home, who knows what would have occurred?"
It is a feeling not lost upon others who use the buses on a regular basis, mindful that public transit isn't immune to threats on public safety every time a passenger gets off at their stop.
"I'm just very happy that the girl is still living. You know what I mean?” said James McCauley who works in the area where the assault occurred, “I really feel her sympathy because it's very dangerous out here."
If you recognize the two men pictured on the bus, you are asked to call Baltimore City Police detectives at 410-396-2012, and if you wish to remain anonymous, can call Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP.