Police seek man in public choking attack
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Winnipeg police are searching for a male suspect after a woman was choked unconscious on a Windsor Park-area street early Saturday.
Police were called to Elizabeth Road and De Bourmont Avenue at about 12:30 a.m., where a woman in her 40s reported being assaulted by an unknown man.
The woman said she had walked west on Elizabeth, then north on De Bourmont, when a man came up behind her. He began to choke her and pulled her to the ground where she lost consciousness, police said Monday.
She fought the man off, once she came to. The suspect fled.
The woman was taken to hospital, treated and released, Winnipeg Police Service spokeswoman Const. Dani McKinnon said.
“She’s going to be OK, but even in addition to her being choked, there were some other injuries,” McKinnon said. “Choking is a very serious injury on somebody, and for medical precautions, you must go to the hospital.”
The nature of the assault is of concern, she added.
“This person was just walking in a neighbourhood that she was familiar with, she was aware of her surroundings — it was just after midnight, it’s not like it was… four or five in the morning,” McKinnon said.
“She was seemingly just going from A to B, and to be preyed upon by somebody and attacked from the rear, is very concerning.”
McKinnon said the woman did not report being sexually assaulted, but given nothing was stolen and she was choked, police brought in sex crimes officers to assist with the investigation as a precaution.
Bhaskar Jaryal, who lives near De Bourmont Avenue where the assault occurred, was upset to learn of the incident when he was shoveling snow Monday afternoon.
“I don’t like that — it’s concerning,” said the 23-year-old, who lives with his mother and teenage sister.
He noted there are two schools nearby, and his sister and other young students regularly walk in the area.
Jaryal said he’s heard plenty of reports in the area of vehicle and other break-ins, as well as package thefts, but nothing like the Saturday morning assault in the 3 1/2 years he’s lived in Windsor Park.
“(We’ll) definitely need to keep an eye out, especially at night… Broad daylight, there’s a lot of people, but by night, you barely see anyone, on this road specifically,” he said, pointing to De Bourmont Avenue, which leads to a dead-end at Maginot Street.
Police said the suspect is about 5-8, with an average build. His skin colour wasn’t clear. He wore a black jacket, black pants and black gloves, with a hood up and his face covered.
McKinnon noted the description was based on an initial interview with the victim.
“She was very emotionally distraught, and sometimes it takes a subsequent interview to get the facts out,” McKinnon said. “That’s also why we use sex crimes (investigators), they’re very skilled at doing those kind of interviews.”
Police ask anyone with information on the incident, including area surveillance footage, to call police at 204-986-6219 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 204-786-8477.
Erik Pindera reports for the city desk, with a particular focus on crime and justice.