University police confirm second charge in assaults

By Angelina Cole

University Police Lt. Roy Acree confirmed Tuesday that Fernando Rizo-Perez was charged in connection with both Oct. 31 campus assaults, in addition to an assault in the city of Champaign.

“He was charged on four counts of aggravated battery,” Acree said. “Three of which were in a public place, one for causing (severe) bodily harm.”

The department arrested the 25-year-old man Nov. 19 at Colonial Pantry Food Store, 312 E. Green St., after an officer noticed him wearing a yellow and black jacket similar to the one described by one of the assault victims.

When officers approached Rizo-Perez and asked to see his coat, blood was found on the inside lining.

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 of a form of foreign identification gathered from video taken by the ID scanner at Joe’s Brewery, 706 S. Fifth St. 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 Tuesday. When the officer spotted Rizo-Perez at Colonial Pantry wearing a jacket on a warm evening, it jogged her memory, he said.

A 19-year-old woman was assaulted on the evening of Oct. 31 near the Quad between the Henry Administration Building and Altgeld Hall. She 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 the attacker off and he fled.

Champaign police officers later responded to another report of assault at 2:19 a.m. at the 300 block of East Daniel Street.

The victim was in an alley walking toward Third Street when a stranger approached her and struck her over the head, according to a police report. The victim struggled with the offender, biting him, kicking him in the groin and striking his head. She suffered a head injury and a cut.