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Witnesses, Dog Chase Rapist, Back Off When He Points Gun

Chelsea, a rottweiler, helped three witnesses chase a rapist who attacked a woman in a Logan Square gangway on Aug. 24, 2011. (Credit: CBS)

Chelsea, a rottweiler, helped three witnesses chase a rapist who attacked a woman in a Logan Square gangway on Aug. 24, 2011. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A group of witnesses chased down a rapist in the Logan Square neighborhood overnight, but had to give up the chase after he pointed a gun.

As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, the incident happened about 10 p.m. in the 2900 block of West Belden Avenue, after the 37-year-old victim had shopped at a nearby store.

The suspect put a gun to her neck in a front yard and pushed her into a gangway where he sexually assaulted her, police said.

Witnesses said that, during the attack, the armed suspect grabbed a cell phone from the victim’s purse.

Neighbors said the blatant violence is out of character for the neighborhood, which is tight-knit.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports

As proof of that, police were praising several passersby who ran to the victim’s aid and even put their own lives at risk, by chasing the suspect as he pointed at gun at them.

“It’s scary because, I mean, it’s a friendly place. People here walk around a lot,” said Logan Square resident Laurie, who was afraid to give her last name, as the attack happened right next door to her.

Her family was coming home from getting an ice cream as the attack occurred.

“At first I heard her saying ‘Help me, I’m being raped,’ and … I didn’t know where it was coming from because … it was really dark,” Laurie said.

But that didn’t stop at least three men who heard the screams from running after the attacker. One of them is Laurie’s boyfriend.

“My boyfriend ran after him. The gentleman with the other dog – which is another guy that heard everything – ran after him and another gentleman across the street as well, with his girlfriend, he came right after as well,” Laurie said. “So it was three people trying to help out.”

Even Laurie’s Rottweiler, Chelsea, took off after the armed attacker.

“You can see she’s a little chunky, but she ran after him and she knew what was going on,” Laurie said. “She couldn’t catch him because he was over the fence by the time she tried to bite him.

But the Good Samaritans stopped when the suspect pointed the gun at them, police said. He did not fire the gun.

“I think it was great, because not a lot of people help around which is really bad, you know. And someone in distress like that should get help all the time,” Laurie said.

The suspect was last seen running northbound on Sacramento Avenue and then east on Medill Avenue.

The men recovered the victim’s cell phone, which the suspect dropped before running away. Police are hoping to recover fingerprints from it.

The woman was taken to Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center.

Detectives were hoping that surveillance video from nearby stores will help locate the suspect. Police were back on the scene on Thursday. They said the suspect hours earlier tried to attack another woman on nearby Milwaukee Avenue.

He’s described as a Hispanic male in his late teens, standing 5’7” and weighing 185 pounds. He has a thick neck and was last seen wearing either a checkered or striped shirt, which was possibly white and orange or white and red, and tan cargo shorts.

The Shakespeare District is holding a beat meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday night for that beat, 1414, in which the assault happened. The meeting will be held at the Logan Square Library, at 3030 W. Fullerton Ave., Mulkerin said.

Anyone with information should also contact Grand Central Area detectives, (312) 746-8282.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.