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Man arrested in 13-year-old's rape at Queens park after being spotted, beat up by community, police say

NYPD credits the power of everyday New Yorkers with the eventual arrest of Queens rape suspect
NYPD credits the power of everyday New Yorkers with the eventual arrest of Queens rape suspect 02:19

NEW YORK -- The man accused of tying up and raping a 13-year-old girl last week at Kissena Park in Queens is in custody and faces a slew of charges, police said Tuesday. 

NYPD officials say Christian Geovanny Inga-Landi, 25, faces rape, robbery, kidnapping, sex abuse, menacing, unlawful imprisonment and other charges. He was taken into custody early Tuesday morning after police said community members recognized him and called 911.

"We found that the community was holding our perp. At the time, the community was trying to hold the perpetrator, waiting for the police, he fought with them, and the community still managed to hold onto him until we got there," NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said Tuesday afternoon.

"I especially want to thank New Yorkers. There is no greater force multiplier than the eyes and ears of a fully engaged public," NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said. "This is exactly what we mean when we say public safety is a public responsibility and the past few days proved again that the people of the city could come together and get the job like no one else."

The suspect was treated at Elmhurst Hospital for minor injuries and transferred to the 112th Precinct.

Police say Inga-Landi is an Ecuadorian national and a father of two who crossed the border into Texas about three years ago. At the time, he was arrested for entering the country illegally and was released from custody while waiting for processing.

"The perpetrator has made statements, after waiving Miranda rights, where he indicated that he has a drug problem, that he found the knife that he used to threaten the two teens, that this was the first time he had ever done anything like this," Kenny said. 

Suspect recognized from surveillance images

Investigators canvassed the neighborhood and went door-to-door with surveillance video Monday. They credited the community with coming together, and praised the two teens for providing a description of the suspect.

"We got numerous tips from Queens residents," Kenny said. "The tips came in via social media. They gave us the perpetrator's name, his Facebook account, which gave us pictures of him wearing the clothing he was wearing the same day that he committed the crime, as well as pictures of him with that distinguishable tattoo on his chest and matching clothing."

Police were looking for this man in a shocking crime that happened on June 13 in Queens. NYPD

A group of people who live in Corona told CBS New York they saw a picture of the suspect on social media and that they immediately realized they had seen him around the neighborhood so they were on the lookout.

And, sure enough, they saw him around 1 a.m. on Tuesday.

Video shows Inga-Landi on the concrete just outside a deli a few blocks from the park and minutes after Jeffrey Flores says he spotted him.

"I come and I just like grabbed him out the store because that situation got me mad like, you know?" Flores said. "I got two little sisters. I'm about to have a daughter, you know? I couldn't just, you know, walk away.

"After that, I ain't gonna lie, everybody just started beating on him," Flores added.

The group said they used a belt to tie up his legs.

"We waited seven hours, ya hear, all day, all night for him," a good Samaritan named Forge said.

Forge said Inga-Landi likely would have gotten away if not for him and about six other people who helped detain him.

"You know what we do. On this side over here, we don't condone none of that," Forge said.

Angela Sauretti said she is the one on the video asking Inga-Landi in Spanish where he was going.

She said she also called 911, "because he kept trying to run, you understand? He kept trying to run from all of us. So I was like, 'Where are you going?'"

"He kept saying, 'Help, help, help,' and then I would say, I told him to shut up. That's what the girls was yelling when he was ... One less guy on the street that is, you know, messing up the world," Flores added.

Queens councilmember says that part of the park can be "dangerous and unsafe"

The attack happened after school last Thursday in a wooded area of the park in Flushing. Detectives said the suspect threatened a 13-year-old boy and girl with a machete-style knife, then tied their wrists together using a shoelace before sexually assaulting the girl.

The suspect allegedly took the teens' cellphones but left behind a shoelace, red bandana and water bottle, which are being analyzed.

Community leaders gathered near the park Monday night, calling for more police officers and cameras in the area. They handed out flyers in different languages, hoping for a tip that might lead investigators to the suspect. Police also announced a $10,000 reward.

CBS New York has learned police are installing cameras along that section of the park, though it's not clear exactly where.

Councilmember Sandra Ung released a statement following the news of someone in custody, saying in part, "Flushing residents have known for far too long that this section of Kissena Corridor Park can be dangerous and unsafe."

"I want to thank the NYPD and all of the investigators who devoted themselves to solving this tragic and terrifying case from the moment it was reported. I hope this arrest will bring some peace of mind to our community, who continue to share in the grief with the victims, their families and their school. I also want to commend the brave victims, who under unbelievably traumatic circumstances were able to provide police with a detailed description of their attacker that ultimately helped identify this suspect. While this arrest took a dangerous and vicious criminal off our streets, this is only the beginning of the work ahead of us. Flushing residents have known for far too long that this section of Kissena Corridor Park can be dangerous and unsafe. I am committed to working with the Mayor, the NYPD, the Parks Department, and other community stakeholders to improve public safety and take the necessary steps to ensure that our park becomes a safe space for all members of our community."  

Anyone with additional information about the attack is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.  

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