La Mesa Police cruiser
A La Mesa Police cruiser. Photo by Chris Stone

A homeless man who allegedly assaulted and tried to rape another transient near the Grossmont Center mall Wednesday afternoon, fleeing when she screamed, was arrested following a manhunt in the busy commercial-residential neighborhood.

Officers responding to reports of a man attacking a partially clothed woman in an open area in the 5600 block of Amarillo Avenue in La Mesa shortly after 2 p.m. arrived to find the victim bleeding from the face and the assailant gone, according to police.

Patrol personnel searched the area, eventually finding a man matching the description of the attacker in the 5900 block of Jackson Drive, about a half-mile from the site of the alleged assault, Lt. Greg Runge said.

Officers arrested the suspect, identified as 43-year-old Louis Ahwuli Gomez, without incident on suspicion of attempted rape.

Both Gomez and his alleged victim, whose name was withheld, are believed to be transients, the lieutenant said.