Updated 2:00 p.m. Tuesday Sept. 9, 2014 with officials’ comments.
A 23-year-old man was behind bars Tuesday on suspicion of carrying out a sex-assault series that has spread fear through North Park- area neighborhoods over the last three months.
David Angelo Drake of San Diego was taken into custody near the corner of Fifth Avenue and Washington Street in Hillcrest about 7:15 p.m. Monday, according to police.
Drake was booked on suspicion of six counts each of assault and assault with intent to commit a felony, five counts of battery causing serious bodily injury, and two counts of forcible sex with a foreign object.
Capturing the suspect was “a true collaborative effort,” SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman said during a midday briefing.
Intensified policing efforts in the area and community-outreach efforts by city officials and citizens produced a number of tips that aided in the investigation, she said.
“And it is (such) a piece of information that helped us take this person into custody last night,” Zimmerman said.
The most recent of the half-dozen attacks happened about 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 28, when a woman was knocked to the ground and punched in the face in an alley off the 3900 block of Idaho Street. The assailant ran off when the victim screamed and several witnesses came to her aid.
That night, a roadside surveillance camera captured pictures of a potential suspect in the assault series. The images were made public, prompting the tip that led to Drake’s arrest, police said.
On July 20, a woman was attacked from behind and knocked out in the 2900 block of Lincoln Avenue.
About 1 a.m. June 24, a woman was jumped from behind while walking on Lincoln Avenue, near Oregon Street. The attacker tackled her and pummeled her in the face, causing her to lose consciousness.
Similar assaults took place on Meade Avenue near 33rd Street on June 17, and on Lincoln Avenue near Oregon Street on June 21, according to police.
The first attack in the series occurred June 11 in the 3900 block of 33rd Street.
City Council President Todd Gloria praised the civic teamwork that led to the arrest in the high-profile case.
“Getting this predator off our streets is great news,” he said during the news conference at downtown SDPD headquarters.
On Friday, Gloria announced that nearly two dozen inoperative streetlights in North Park were being repaired as a result of public concern over the rash of assaults. Lights along Lincoln Avenue, from Texas Street to Interstate 805, were being retrofitted with brighter LED bulbs, and an additional one was to be installed in the same area, he said.
The city Parks and Recreation Department also planned to keep lights on at tennis courts at Idaho and Howard streets through the night to further brighten up the area, according to Gloria.
Drake was being held in San Diego Central Jail on $855,000 bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
— City News Service