Suspect arrested for Oct. 31 assault

By Angelina Cole

University police arrested Fernando Rizo-Perez, 25, on Nov. 19 for the second of two Oct. 31 campus assaults.

Lt. Roy Acree said a University officer was at Colonial Pantry Food Store, 312 E. Green St., when she noticed the offender wearing a T-shirt over what appeared to be a yellow and black jacket. The evening was particularly warm for early November, making the officer suspicious, he said.

The perpetrator of the second Oct. 31 assault was described to the police as a black male in his early 20s, 5-foot-4 and of average build. The victim said he was wearing dark jeans, a yellow jacket and a T-shirt at the time of the attack. She reported the incident around 2:19 a.m. after successfully defending herself, causing the offender to flee. The victim suffered injuries when the offender struck her over the head.

The University and Champaign police departments issued a statement naming Rizo-Perez as a person of interest in the case on Nov. 5 based on footage gathered from video of a form of foreign identification with the name taken by the ID scanner at Joe’s Brewery. At the time, the departments said the identification may have been false.

The image retained from the business provided officers with an idea of the offender they should be looking for, Acree said. When the officer spotted Rizo-Perez at Colonial Pantry wearing a jacket on a warm evening, it jogged her memory.

“It was some really good police work by putting things together from two weeks prior,” Acree said.

The officer then called the department for assistance. Rizo-Perez presented a Mexican voter registration card with a matching photo to the one police had obtained from the scanner. He was then asked to show the officers the coat he was wearing under his T-shirt.

“(They) took a look at the coat and when it was turned inside-out, blood was found on it,” Acree said. “The victim of the second attack (suffered) a head wound which produced a lot of blood.”

Rizo-Perez was arrested and taken to the Champaign County Jail.

Another woman was attacked earlier on the night of Oct. 31 near the Quad between the Henry Administration Building and Altgeld Hall. The 19-year-old woman was walking toward the Quad around 1:30 a.m. when a stranger approached her, grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her into the bushes. She was able to fight her attacker off and he fled.

She described the man as a 19- or 20-year-old Hispanic of thin build. He was wearing a white T-shirt and baggy jeans at the time of the attack.

Rizo-Perez was not charged in connection to that incident.