Police search for person of interest in two attacks

By Daily Illini Staff Report

The Champaign and University police departments are looking for a person of interest in two attacks that occurred on campus early Wednesday morning, according to a release from the Champaign Police Department.

Police are searching for a Hispanic male described as 5 feet 4 inches tall with an average build who reportedly displayed a foreign identification card with the name Fernando Rizo-Perez.

A man used the identification to enter Joe’s Brewery over the weekend, said Lt. Roy Acree with the University Police Department. The image that serves as the basis for the description was gathered from video of the identification taken by the bar’s ID scanner at the time of entry.

The identification may be counterfeit, Acree said.

“We’re not sure if he is the actual suspect,” he said. “But it’s an image of a person very similar to a description from one of the victims.”

The first attack was reported around 2:32 a.m. Wednesday. A 19-year-old woman was walking east on the sidewalk between Altgeld Hall, 1409 W. Green St., and the Henry Administration Building, 506 S. Wright St., around 1:30 a.m. when a man grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her into the bushes, striking her face with his fist. She was able to fight the offender off by kicking him in the groin several times. The man fled toward the Illini Union and was described as a 19- or 20-year-old Hispanic male of thin build, 5 feet 6 inches tall, wearing a white T-shirt and baggy jeans.

The second attack was reported around 2:19 a.m. The female victim was walking in an alley in the 300 block of East Daniel Street when a stranger approached her and struck her over the head. She struggled, kicking the man in the groin and striking his head. He fled, going west on the 300 block of East Daniel Street and was described as a black male in his early 20s, 5 feet 4 inches tall, of average build, with short well-groomed hair and light facial hair. The offender was wearing dark jeans, a yellow jacket and a T-shirt at the time of the assault.

Last Wednesday, Jeff Christensen, assistant chief of University police, told The Daily Illini the two attacks were not believed to be connected. Though the occurrences were similar, the two descriptions were different, he said.

If anyone has information regarding the attacks, they are asked to call the Champaign Police Department at 351-4545 or the University Police Department at 333-1216. Callers can remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 373-TIPS.

Angelina Cole contributed to this report