Crime & Courts

Security officer thwarts rape of woman, 62, outside Columbia apartment building

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Police are investigating the sexual assault of a 62-year-old woman outside a Columbia apartment building.

The attack happened around 1 a.m. Sunday, the Columbia Police Department said in a news release Thursday afternoon.

A security officer on foot patrol at an apartment building on Elmwood Avenue told police he heard “what sounded like a female struggling” near the bushes by the Park Street entrance of the building, according to a police incident report.

The security officer approached the bushes and found the victim partially dressed and a man choking her from behind, police said in the report. The attacker was trying to pull his pants down when the security officer approached them.

When the officer shouted at the man to get off of the victim, he ran away toward Elmwood Avenue, the report states.

The incident report indicates that a “lethal cutting instrument” was involved in the attack, but police did not specify the kind of weapon, or if and how it was used.

EMS responded and rendered aid to the victim, who had multiple injuries including a broken nose and swollen eyes, according to the release. The victim was treated and released from a local hospital.

The suspect is described as a black male between 45 and 50 years old, according to the release. He’s about 6 feet tall and weighs about 200 pounds, and was last seen wearing a blue jacket, blue jeans, a white and blue knit cap with orange and red trim and gray shoes.

Anyone with information on the suspect or the crime is asked to call Crimestoppers at 888-CRIME-SC, or log onto and click on the “Submit a tip” tab. Tipsters can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.