West Ashley rape suspect sought

The alleged rapist is described as being between 5 feet 10 inches and 6 feet tall, 140 pounds and light skinned with short hair.

Charleston police are searching for a man who reportedly raped a 19-year-old at gunpoint on the grounds of a West Ashley apartment complex.

The man also briefly kidnapped the woman and tried to rob her, according to the Charleston Police Department.

It happened around 2 a.m. on June 8. The woman, a local resident, was going to visit a friend at the Ashley Grove Apartments on Ashley Hall Road near Orange Grove Road.

Det Leslie Ambrose said the suspect -- a tall, light-skinned black man with close-cropped hair -- came up behind the woman and called out "Come here" as she was walking through the apartment complex's parking lot.

The woman tried to ignore him, but he called out again.

When she turned to look, the man, dressed entirely in black, was pointing a black pistol at her.

"It was somebody she didn't know, somebody she hadn't seen before," Ambrose said.

Ambrose said the woman was raped at gunpoint outside the apartment building. After that, the man forced the woman into the passenger seat of her car while he drove her to an ATM, apparently hoping to take money out of her account, Ambrose said.

Shortly after he learned the woman had no money, the man fled on foot, leaving the woman with her car.

The woman described the man for a police sketch artist. Police hope someone who recognizes the suspect will come forward or call Crimestoppers. The man is between 5 feet 10 inches and 6 feet tall, and weighs about 140 pounds.

Although this appears to be an isolated incident, police said they worry that the man could strike again.

"My concern is if we don't catch him, he could do it again if he gets away with it this time," Ambrose said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at 554-1111.

Reach Brian Hicks at 937-5561 or bhicks@postandcourier.com.