UPDATED 08/15/11 11:19 a.m.
GARY, Ind. (CBS) — A 68-year-old woman in Gary, Ind., sought shelter at a train station, and instead ended up traumatized and hospitalized after someone attacked and raped her at the Miller stop on the South Shore Line.
Transit police say the alleged victim was seeking shelter from the rain, when a man forced her to the ground and sexually assaulted her.
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Around 11:45 p.m. Saturday, the woman was sitting on a bench at the station, at U.S. Route 12 and Lake Street, eating a sandwich and trying to stay dry. The assailant approached the woman, chatted with her, then pulled out a gun as he forced her onto the floor.
The woman was taken to Methodist Hospital Northlake Campus for treatment. Police say her injuries are not life-threatening.
“It’s very concerning,” a woman who was commuting at the station said Monday morning. “It’s really scary to be out here and not have protection.”
The assailant is described as a black male in his mid-20s, wearing a white T-shirt with black lettering on the front and back and white shorts. He was armed with a black handgun and rode east from the station on a dark colored BMX-style bicycle following the attack.
Surveillance video from the parking lot vaguely shows the suspect fleeing from the train station.
“We can see the attack taking place,” Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District Police Chief Robert Boyd said.
Police are also looking at cameras from nearby businesses.
“The thing about it is they have cameras, and if they were taping it, why wasn’t somebody helping the lady or notifying the police, if somebody was monitoring the cameras, hopefully, late at night,” the commuter at the station Monday morning. “They should monitor them.”
The police chief says the department also has DNA evidence from the woman that will be given to Indiana State Police for testing.
Police do not believe the woman was waiting for a train, and was only seeking refuge from the inclement weather.
Local business owner Scott Goldberg says the incident hopefully is isolated.
“It’s a terrible thing, and it is surprising,” he told CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker.
Anyone with information regarding the attack is asked to call the NICTD Transit Police at (219) 398-6000.
The Northwest Indiana Post-Tribune contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.