Charleston police are investigating three recent, violent attacks on women in neighborhoods near the College of Charleston.
Police said the assaults occurred over the past three weeks, culminating with a rape Tuesday morning. While there isn't enough evidence to connect the incidents, the attacks have similarities, police said. Investigators released a composite sketch of a man involved in the first attack.
That incident occurred about 2 a.m. Jan. 21 as a 22-year-old college student was walking on Calhoun Street, near Pitt Street. A man approached, struck her in the face and then ran off. He was described as white, between 5 feet 10 inches and 6 feet tall, and with a medium build, according to a police report.
The second incident occurred about an hour later on Bull Street as a 19-year-old student walked toward Pitt Street. She said hello to a man approaching from the opposite direction and he asked if she was alone. He then punched her in the face, knocking her to the ground, police said.
The victim told police that the man repeatedly punched her in the face and slammed her head to the pavement. He continued to beat her even after she tried to hand over her wallet to get him to stop. He finally relented, grabbed her wallet and cell phone and ran off, according to a police report.
The victim was treated at a hospital for a wound to the back of her head, a swollen nose and right eye and broken right hand, police said. She described her attacker as white, between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet tall and with short brown, spiked hair.
In the third incident, which occurred around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, a 23-year-old woman was punched and raped while walking on Vanderhorst Street, authorities said. The woman told police her attacker struck her below the eye and then dragged her into a parking lot beside an apartment building, where he sexually assaulted her.
The attacker was described as white, between 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing between 150 and 170 pounds, and with short hair.