SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake City police are searching for a suspect after he allegedly sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl Thursday.
Officers said the teenager was walking to school around 6:40 a.m. when she noticed a man following her. They said the man grabbed the victim at the Smith's gas pumps near 1114 West and 600 North.
"As she was walking from 4th to 6th she perceived someone walking in back of her, appeared to be following her, so she picked up her pace," said Det. Dennis McGowan of the Salt Lake City Police Department.
Police said the suspect pulled the victim down into the mud and held his arm around her neck and covered her mouth as he attempted to sexually assault her. They said the girl fought back and was able to escape.
"The person did grab a hold of her and drag her down, and proceeded to assault her, sexually assault her," McGowan said.
The suspect is described as a Hispanic man in his 30s, 6 feet 2 inches tall and a thin build. They said he has facial hair and acne. He was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, red beanie and black gloves.
Aaron Wiley has a son who attends the same school in Rose Park as the victim.
"It just breaks my heart, breaks my heart," Wiley said. "Makes me sad that she had to experience something like that, something like this is happening in our community."
Police officials said the victim did exactly as they would have instructed someone to do if attacked in such a way.
If you have any information on the suspect, contact Salt Lake City police at (801) 799-3100.
“We’re thinking there were other people in the area that were there that may not have realized what was going on but in hindsight, if they think back, maybe they’ll remember some part of it," McGowan said.