'Turn him in, tonight': Detroiters search for suspect in rape of 80-year-old woman
Police Chief James White went door to door on Memorial Street to hand out flyers Wednesday, and dozens of Detroiters followed suit, searching for a suspect in a crime so ugly they felt compelled to hit the streets.
On the flyers: a sketch of a man suspected of raping an 80-year-old woman and a $2,500 reward offer for information that leads to his arrest.
"These are the cases that keep us all up at night," White said during a news conference Wednesday at the corner of Memorial Street and Glendale Street in northwest Detroit.
He said police are dedicating every resource available toward finding the suspect.
White said his department has an idea of who the suspect is and believe he is still in the area. With help from the public, White said he is confident the suspect will be apprehended.
"Our most vulnerable members of our communities, our seniors, don't deserve this," White said.
According to police, the suspect approached the 80-year-old woman Sunday afternoon at her home on Memorial Street, offering his assistance with packages.
The woman declined his assistance. The suspect left, only return to her home later at night.
She asked him to leave. He didn't.
Instead, he dragged the woman outside, where he sexually assaulted her, White said.
The heinous details, White said, he can't forget — he "cannot un-know."
The suspect is described as a Black man of dark brown complexion in his 20s or 30s, 5-foot-10, 160 pounds, dark almond-brown eyes, slim build, clean shaven, wearing a black hoodie, black jeans with a red, yellow and blue tag on a pants pocket.
Dozens showed up at the news conference — including community members, local organizers, city officials, church leaders and police officers — expressing outrage.
White described the victim as strong and amazing, and said she even prayed for her attacker.
Community activist Maurice Hardwick, better known as Pastor Mo, said the "whole force of Detroit" will go after anyone who puts hands on an elderly woman.
"Everybody now is looking for you. Turn him in, tonight," Hardwick said. "You will not spend another night on our streets — we will bring the whole Detroit out on you, every time."
Together, community members prayed. Afterward, they regrouped down the street in the parking lot of Greater Burnette Baptist Church, where even more showed up to canvass the neighborhood with flyers.
Teferi Brent, who helped organize the canvass, said the community will not stop until the perpetrator is found.
"We are tired, tired, tired of the violence," said longtime community activist Maureen Taylor. "We're going to be out here as long as it takes."
Hardwick jumped in.
"All night, let's go," he said.
Then they got to work, passing out flyers, raising awareness and demanding justice.
Andrea Sahouri covers criminal justice for the Detroit Free Press. She can be contacted at 313-264-0442, email@example.com or on Twitter @andreamsahouri.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroiters go door to door after rape of 80-year-old woman