Police Arrest Man in Connection with Attempted July 4 Rape on Upper West Side

July 6, 2018 Last Updated: July 6, 2018

Police have arrested a suspect in connection with an attempted rape of a woman in Manhattan on the Fourth of July.

Police took Desmond Smith, 32, into custody on charges of attempted rape, strangulation, sexual abuse, and assault on Thursday.

Police say a 37-year-old woman was attacked around 11 p.m. on the Upper West Side after getting out of an Uber car at Central Park West and West 83rd Street.

A man approached the woman and first tried to engage her in conversation, police said. When she didn’t respond, he attacked her, throwing her to the ground then punching, stomping on, and biting her around the face and head, the NYPD said.

He started to try to take off the woman’s clothes when something startled him, and police said he fled on foot near Columbus Avenue.

It was a doorman who heard the woman’s screams and came to her aid, ABC7 reported.

“She was on the floor, and he was on top of her,” doorman Ernest Pjetri told the TV station. “He was hitting her, basically, with hands or foot, I couldn’t see that. But also, in the way I saw him pulling off her clothes.”

The doorman snapped a picture of the man while he was attacking the woman and that is what startled him, ABC7 reports.

The man ran after the doorman and pushed him, saying the woman owed him money, according to Pix 11.

The woman was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital with a fractured skull.

Smith has 12 prior arrests for assault, criminal possession of weapons, drugs, burglary, robbery, and grand larceny, according to Pix 11.

He lived in a homeless shelter a block from the attack, NBC New York reports.