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Long Beach woman sexually assaulted by homeless man in broad daylight

Long Beach woman sexually assaulted by homeless man in broad daylight
Long Beach woman sexually assaulted by homeless man in broad daylight 02:47

A 30-year-old man allegedly sexually assaulted a woman in broad daylight along a downtown Long Beach sidewalk last Friday afternoon. 

Security camera footage showed the woman casually walking along the sidewalk on East Broadway when the suspect, Miguel Avila jumped up from the ground and began to follow her. 

Dan McIntyre was sitting around the corner when he began to sense something bad was about to happen when he saw the 30-year-old pursuing the woman.  He said the suspect was "salivating" just watching the woman walk down the street.

"His tongue was just going in and out and he was just focused on who was right ahead of him," said McIntyre. "He looked demon-possessed. If I've ever seen a demon possession that's it."

Security camera footage showed Avila trailing behind the woman while also unzipping his pants while on East Broadway. He continued to follow the woman onto Linden Avenue, where MacIntyre was sitting. 

As MacIntyre sat just a few feet from the suspect and victim, he noticed the man pick up speed. The soon-to-be Good Samaritan got a wretched feeling in his gut again and started to get ready to chase the possessed man away.

Within seconds, Avila pulls up the woman's dress and grabs her just a stone's throw away from McIntyre. The victim fell to the ground as the Good Samaritan jumped out of his seat and pulled a canister of pepper spray out. McIntyre chased Avila away from the scene.

Rebekah Pedersen, the victim, said she felt absolutely violated. 

"I just can't think enough that if it wasn't broad daylight I would have been raped," said Pedersen.

For months, residents in Long Beach complained about increased vandalism, attacks and Metro's end-of-line policy which kicks people off the trains in downtown Long Beach. Joe Harding, a local business owner and resident of Long Beach, criticized the policy.

"They are those that are mentally unstable. They're the violent people that are out there, the perpetually homeless, the socially inept," said Harding while describing the people coming off the train at the end of the night. "Those are the ones that are causing us a lot of the problems."

On Tuesday night,  Pedersen's attack captured the attention of the City Council and Mayor Rex Richardson, who expressed his sympathies to the victim. 

"If we don't take care of downtown we're going to see this spreading into all of our districts," said Vice Mayor Cindy Allen. 

During the meeting, the council unanimously decided to craft a plan that would specifically address homelessness in the downtown area and increase safety. 

The Long Beach Police Department tracked down Avila, who is homeless, and booked him for sexual battery. He now faces misdemeanor charges after being arraigned by the District Attorney.

Avila was arraigned on Tuesday and will be held in lieu of a $75,000 bail. 

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