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NYPD: Woman Punched, Stomped In Attempted Rape On Upper West Side

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A man faces multiple charges after he allegedly attacked a woman on the Upper West Side.

Desmond Smith, 32, was arrested Thursday and charged with attempted rape, sexual abuse, strangulation and assault.

Police said the 37-year-old victim exited an Uber around 11 p.m. Wednesday near Central Park West and 84th Street. That's when the suspect approached her and tried to talk with her. When she ignored him, Smith allegedly threw her onto the sidewalk, punched, stomped and bit her as he started to remove her clothing.

Sources told CBS2 that she fought back, even biting him.

"I was looking down from my window when I heard the loud argument and the screaming," a neighbor told CBS2's Alice Gainer. "I saw a guy with a girl lying on the floor, on the ground, and the guy was kicking her head. Then the attacker ripped the girl's skirt and underwear."

Ernest Pjedri, who works as a doorman across the street, heard the woman scream and went to see what happened.

"She was on the floor and he was on top of her. He was hitting her, basically, with hand or foot, I couldn't see that, but also in the way I saw him pulling off the clothes," he told Gainer.

He said he pulled out his cellphone to snap a photo of the man, and the suspect was distracted by the flash.

"He left her and was coming behind me," he said.

Pjedri said the man tried to tell him the woman owed him money. He and the neighbor both called police, but the suspect and victim took off separately before officers arrived.

Residents nearby couldn't believe it.

"I was surprised, because generally it's a relatively safe area. I feel safe at night walking around by myself," said Rebecca Barr. "I'll just be more aware, you know. It's an unusual thing, so I'd like to think it's an isolated thing, but you can never be too safe. Always keep your eyes open."

"I walk my dog here every evening and never seen any kind of violence or even intimidating behavior here at all," a man added. "Most evenings around 11-o-clock, there's a few people walking dogs like I am, some people are sort of coming in and out of the park still at that time, but that's about it. It's pretty quiet."

The victim was treated for injuries to her face and head.

Smith is expected to face a judge Friday.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-700-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via the Crime Stoppers website, or by texting a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.

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