Police officers arrested suspects they said had knocked a woman off the feet at the Upper East Side subway station, then climbed over her and attempted to rape her as a shocked crowd gathered and filmed the horrific attack.
The 25-year-old victim encountered suspect Jose Reyes for the first time at around 11 a.m. while riding the F train.
“It looked like he was smoking some kind of hookah and started making strange noises and laughing at himself,” said Rodney Harrison, chief of detectives for the New York Police Department, of the deranged suspect.
When the annoying woman got off the train at Lexington Ave and E63 Street, the patient followed.
“Mr. Harrison said,“ Reyes pointed in a masturbation motion towards her, and [the victim], trying to avoid him, moved in a different direction. ”“ Mr. Reyes follows her, which leads to his assault, punching and shoving her to the ground, climbing over her, and trying to straighten her legs. ”
The video shows that he pushed his body back and forth over her as the crowd watched in terror.
A good Samaritan intervened and started recording with a mobile phone. Police released this video early Sunday and are seeking help from the public in identifying the potential rapist.
Harrison said, “This heinous and horrific act was stopped by Samri Saleh who noticed the behavior of Mr. Reyes and made him stop his behavior while filming the incident later on videotape.”
The video shows that as more bystanders gathered, the crawl took off – but not before delivering a few inaudible words to the crowd and picking up his sunglasses from the ground.
Police said the victim had suffered minor injuries and had refused treatment.
Harrison said the facial recognition from the video matches Reyes’ snapshot from a criminal arrest last year.
“We did an extraordinary job very quickly, and worked quickly all night to identify the perpetrator,” said Harrison.
But the police still need help finding him.
Three civilians called for advice about Crime Stoppers after watching the video, prompting cops to find Reyes hanging out in East Harlem at 105th St. And Lexington Ave. Around 12:30 pm.
“If there are any messages to be taken, we need community help, and we need people’s help,” Harrison said. “In order to be successful, and to stop the violence, we must work together.”
Allegedly, Reyes confessed to the attack and was in possession of drugs. According to police, he lives in the Soundview department in the Bronx.
“It appears that some form of drug abuse may be involved,” Harrison said of the attack.
Harrison said Reyes had 15 previous arrests, three of which occurred in the subway system, but none of them were of a sexual nature. Public records show that he was sentenced to between one and three years in prison for grand theft in Manhattan in 2013 and was released after a year.
He is awaiting trial in Manhattan Criminal Court for attempted rape, assault, and harassment.
“This is upsetting and disgraceful,” said movement spokeswoman Abby Collins. “Nobody should face this kind of horrific attack in the transportation system.”