Same Man May Have Punched 5 People in Random Attacks in St. Louis

STL Today, January 31, 2013

The man who punched a woman in the Central West End earlier this week, apparently at random, may be responsible for as many as four other unprovoked attacks in St. Louis, police say.

Authorities were already looking for connections with two other seemingly random assaults in the Central West End on Jan. 18, and now say the assailant in two incidents on Jan. 24 may also be the same man.

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In the most recent incident, a woman, 45, was attacked in the 4400 block of Maryland Avenue at 5:10 p.m. Tuesday. A stranger came up to her and pushed her from behind, saying “Excuse me.” When she turned, he punched her several times and ran, police said.

The assailant in Tuesday night’s attack is described as black, 18 to 20 years old, 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 7 inches, with dreadlocks. {snip}

Two similar assaults in or near the Debaliviere Place neighborhood have a similar suspect description and circumstances, police said. In one, a caretaker was helping a 64-year-old man out of a car in the 5500 block of Delmar Boulevard about 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 24 when an assailant approached and punched the man in the face. {snip}

Less than half an hour later, someone punched a 61-year-old man in the back of the head in the 5300 block of Pershing Avenue. The victim suffered a large cut to his head when he fell after being hit, police said.

The two other attacks in the Central West End happened about 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 18 in the 100 block of North Newstead Avenue, between Lindell and West Pine boulevards. {snip}

One man was punched once above his right eye as he walked on the sidewalk, authorities said. Moments later, a second man was punched once above the left eye as he left a business on Newstead. One of the victims is 73. The other is 77.

“There was no robbery, no theft involved,” said Jim Whyte of the Central West End’s neighborhood security initiative. “They were just unprovoked attacks, very senseless.”

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St. Louis Police Capt. Jim Moran said he didn’t believe the attacks fit the profile of so-called “knockout game” attacks. In those assaults, youths punch or hit innocent victims in unprovoked attacks that perpetrators call a “game.” Moran said those usually involve groups of younger teen attackers, and the attacks are generally more serious.

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